NCAA Super Regionals Roundup: Mississippi State Wins Wild Game 1
A postseason hero has emerged for Mississippi State—and it isn’t the Rally Banana.
For the second straight weekend, junior outfielder Elijah McNamee delivered a stunning walk-off home run, swatting a two-run shot in the ninth against Vanderbilt on Friday night to win the opening game of the Nashville Super Regional, 10-8.
McNamee also homered previously in the game, a three-run shot in the third inning off Vandy righthander Drake Fellows that gave the Bulldogs a 7-2 lead.
But Vanderbilt fought back. The Commodores have shown their fair share of explosive offense in this tournament, as well. They matched Mississippi State’s five-run third with a five-run fifth, punctuated by a two-run shot by outfielder Pat DeMarco.
The game quickly morphed into a slow-paced, grind-it-out slugfest, with both teams battling out at-bats and neither pitching staff finding answers. As soon as Jake Mangum gave MSU a lead with an RBI single in the eighth, Pat DeMarco responded with a triple—and scored on a throwing error—to tie the game back up.
The Bulldogs all grabbed their Rally Bananas in the dugout—a superstitious activity that has quickly captured national attention—but really all they needed was another at-bat from McNamee.
Huskies Inch One Game Closer
Nothing has come easily for Washington over the last few weeks, so it’s only fitting that a Game 1 win at the Fullerton Super Regional wouldn’t either.
Over the last month, the Huskies had to battle to simply get an at-large bid, with an RPI that touched the 70s, and a middle-of-the-pack standing in the Pac-12. But the Huskies surged late, got healthier with the return of veterans Willie MacIver and A.J. Graffanino, and clearly carried that momentum into the postseason.
The Huskies defeated Cal State Fullerton, 8-5, as both teams scratched and clawed through a contentious nine innings.
The Titans, who also had to overcome a slow start to make the postseason, opened the game with a quick 2-0 lead, scoring runs in each of the first two innings. But the Huskies found a way to get to typically reliable Fullerton ace Colton Eastman, peppering him for 12 hits and six runs (four earned) over seven frames.
The Titans narrowed the deficit to 6-5 in the seventh, but a two-run double by Kaiser Weiss in the ninth gave the Huskies more than enough cushion. They turned to ace Joe DeMers on the mound, and he delivered his third save of the season, putting Washington one win away from its first-ever College World Series appearance.
Kevin Abel Carries Oregon State Into College World Series Finals
The Beavers defeated the Bulldogs, 5-2, to move into the CWS Finals against Arkansas for the first time since they won back-to-back titles in 2006 and 2007.
Beavers Keep Cruising
Oregon State is simply playing on another level right now.
A year after going 56-6 but failing to advance to the CWS finals, these Beavers are clearly hungry, and they showed that Friday as they jumped on Minnesota ace Reggie Meyer and defeated the Gophers, 8-1.
Outfielder Trevor Larnach, a first-round pick by the Twins in this year's draft, and catcher Adley Rutschman, a surefire first-rounder next year, hit back-to-back blasts in the first inning to give the Beavers an early 3-0 lead, and the Beavers kept tacking on from there, following a similar formula as they have all season. Lefthander Luke Heimlich threw 8.2 strong innings, allowing just one run on seven hits and striking out nine.
Through four tournament games, Oregon State has outscored opponents 43-5, which tells you all you need to know about the Beavers.