June 30, 2021
2 Vanderbilt 49-17
13 Mississippi State 49-18
Harding, Johnson combine to strike out 11, Dubrule drives in four RBIs to push State into winner-take-all game at the College World Series
OMAHA, Neb. – There will be one final game in the 2021 college baseball season after the No. 3 Mississippi State baseball program evened the College World Series Championship Series at one game apiece with a 13-2 win over No. 1 Vanderbilt on Tuesday (June 29) evening.
Mississippi State (49-18) scored in five of eight innings and had at least one base runner in each frame, while the pitching staff held Vanderbilt (49-17) to just two runs on four hits.
The two teams headed to the third inning tied at 1-1, but four runs in the third, one in the fourth and two in the fifth from the Diamond Dawgs blew the game open and a five-run seventh capped MSU’s scoring to make it 13-1. The Commodores got a ninth-inning home run from Maxwell Romero Jr. to account for the final margin.
While the offense caught most of the headlines, the pitching duo of Houston Harding and Preston Johnson (4-0) did exactly what Mississippi State needed. Harding threw the first four innings and allowed one run on two hits, before Johnson fanned seven batters in five innings of one-run work to earn his fourth win of the season. Each pitcher allowed two hits and walked two batters in the game, with the two VU runs coming on solo home runs.
Offensively, Tanner Allen set the table all night for the Diamond Dawgs, which led to an MSU College World Series-record four runs scored. The left-handed hitter was 2-for-4 with a walk and a hit-by-pitch. He also stole one base in the game.
The middle infield had a great night at the plate, as well. Scotty Dubrule drove in four RBIs on a pair of hits and Lane Forsythe became the 19th Diamond Dawg to post a three-hit game at the College World Series. Forsythe and Luke Hancock each drove in two RBIs in the game, as well. Hancock was on base five times – with a pair of base hits – as he and Logan Tanner each drew three walks in the contest.
All nine Mississippi State starters collected at least one hit and seven of the nine either scored a run or drove in an RBI in the victory. The 13 runs are the third-most scored by MSU at the College World Series, trailing a 14-run outburst against Florida to open the 1998 event and a 15-run barrage against Georgia Southern in 1990.
Vanderbilt got a pair of solo home runs in the game, as starting catcher CJ Rodriguez hit a second-inning solo home run and reserve catcher Maxwell Romero Jr. hit a ninth-inning solo blast. Enrique Bradfield Jr. added a triple and Tate Kolwyck chipped in the fourth Commodore hit. Starting pitcher Christian Little (3-2) took the loss with two-plus innings of work and five runs – four earned – allowed.
The final game of the college baseball season will air on ESPN2 at 6 p.m. CT between Mississippi State and Vanderbilt.
COURTESY MISSISSIPPI STATE ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS