They did it in Tallahassee.
They did it twice in Nashville.
You just had to figure they’d do it in Omaha, too.
Sure enough, Mississippi State strung hits together by Hunter Stovall, Elijah MacNamee, and Luke Alexander to break a scoreless tie in the 9th and win a thriller over Washington, 1-0. Alexander crushed a ball into the RF corner to score Stovall and win another one for the ImprobaBulldogs.
For a guy that loves college baseball, this game was a beautiful thing to watch. It was a masterpiece from both sides. Washington’s starter Joe DeMers was efficient (just 72 pitches in 7.1 IP) and pitched well enough to win. With State swinging at a lot of pitches early in the count, DeMers was hardly ever troubled. And both defenses played very well – the left side of both infields made play after play.
But the star of the game though was State’s starting pitcher Ethan Small. Small threw a gem – going 7 innings and giving up just 4 hits. Small ran into a little trouble in the 3rd, giving up a couple singles, a balk, and a HBP. But he induced a ground ball to get out of the inning stranding two. Otherwise, Ethan Small gave up just 2 hits in the best start of his career.
Four State pitchers combined to throw the 6-hit, no-walk shutout over the Pac-12 program. The OmaDogs advance to face UNC in Monday night’s winners bracket.
The ImprobaBulldog Run
I’ve been writing about the Bulldogs all postseason:
– Tallahassee Regional: Mississippi State in the NCAA Tournament
– The Ups and Downs From Regional Weekend
– How They Got Here: Mississippi State
– In Just 1 Week, Elijah MacNamee Becomes a Mississippi State Immortal
– ImprobaBulldogs: Mississippi State Wins The Greatest Super Regional Ever.
I’ve seen every pitch of HailState’s postseason for two years in a row and I can’t believe what I saw Saturday night. I knew State could win a shootout and was confident in their ability to produce the dramatic. But a 1-0 win? On the biggest stage? With the pitching we’ve seen the last few years? No, I couldn’t have ever imagined that. But Gary Henderson’s boys delivered once again.
This postseason run will go down as the ultimate ride in Starkville. Even the 20-10 debacle vs. OU will be seen in a flattering light – the gut-check that pushed State’s backs against the wall.
And the highlights: MacNamee’s Miracle against FSU, beating Samford and doubling up on OU followed by the greatest Super Regional ever and then onto an opening-round win in Omaha. What a time to be a State fan.
A Season To Remember
Here’s a recap of the absolute crazy things the Mississippi State Bulldogs Have Overcome in 2018:
- Swept by USM in the first weekend of the year.
- Canned their head coach after allegations of impropriety.
- Played their first 11 games on the road.
- Swept the Houston College Classic (allowing only 4 runs total in 3 games).
- Swept by Vanderbilt in Starkville.
- Began the SEC schedule 2-7 – scoring 1 or less in 5 of those games.
- Series win over #3 Ole Miss.
- Ace Konnor Pilkington got the opening-win over Ole Miss on April 7. And hasn’t won a game since. Pilkington has just 2 wins in 17 starts.
- Series sweep over #3 Arkansas.
- Won the Governor’s Cup.
- Swept #1 Florida.
- Won last 4 SEC games to get to .500 in the league.
- Finished the regular season 9-1 vs top 5 RPI teams.
- Gave up 20 runs in regional opener – first time in 9 years to do so.
- Facing elimination and down to their last strike, MacNamee’s Miracle happens: a walk-off HR to beat national-seed FSU.
- Revenged the 20-10 disaster by beating OU twice to win the regional.
- In first game of Super Regional, hit walk-off HR to get within a game of Omaha.
- In 2nd game of Super, give up a walk-off HR to tie the series up.
- In final game, score 3 runs in T9 to take a commanding lead. Then give up 3 in B9.
- In the 11th, score 4 runs to win it and head to Omaha.
- In their opener in Omaha, get another walk-off win – this time to beat Washington 1-0.
College baseball’s 2018 Cinderella story is definitely the Bulldogs of Mississippi State. This team has overcome every adversity possible in this dream run.