Things looked bleak for Mississippi State baseball entering the top of the eighth of their College World Series game vs. Virginia.
The Bulldogs’ bats were deathly silent against Virginia’s Griff McGarry, who carried an intact no-hitter into the inning to give his team a 4-0 lead over Mississippi State. To that point of the game, he had allowed only two base runners: one on a walk, another hit-by-pitch.
McGarry gave up a lead-off walk to start the inning before designated hitter Kellum Clark finally broke the no-hit bid — and, more importantly, put the Bulldogs on the board — with a two-run home run.
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With the no-hitter no longer on the table, Cavaliers coach Brian O’Connor finally dipped into his bullpen. McGarry finished the day with seven shutout innings, striking out eight batters on 98 pitches.
Virginia’s lead didn’t last much longer: Following Clark’s home run, Mississippi State’s Josh Hatcher and Rowdey Jordan singled and doubled, respectively, against reliever Zach Messinger, putting two runners in scoring position. Following that, SEC Player of the Year Tanner Allen went to bat against Cavs closer Stephen Schoch, blasting his own three-run home run to give the Bulldogs a 5-4 lead — one they would never relinquish.
Schoch allowed another single and a walk before leaving the game, eventually taking the loss. The Bulldogs extended their lead to 6-4 with a Scotty Dubrule RBI single against Nate Savino, who finally got the last two outs to end the inning.
Mississippi State’s six-run outburst continued the team’s boom-or-bust scoring method in the College World Series. The Bulldogs have earned each of their eight College World Series runs in only two of 18 innings played: They also scored two runs in the top of the fourth against Texas on Sunday, eventually winning 2-1.
To their credit, Virginia stayed in the game with a solo home run by Chris Newell in the bottom of the eighth. But Mississippi State Landon Sims secured the last four outs of the game, including retiring the side in the bottom of the ninth to secure the comeback:
Mississippi State now will play the winner of Virginia-Texas on Friday, needing only one win to advance to the College World Series final.