Mississippi State is going to Omaha
Baseballs have nothing to do with bananas, but Mississippi State went bananas with bananas as its good luck charm in the Nashville Super Regional.
What else can you even say about Omaha-bound MSU following its 11th inning victory over the Vanderbilt Commodores in last night’s winner-take-all game three?
After being on both sides of walk-off home runs in the first two games, the Bulldogs broke a 3-3 tie with three runs in the top of the ninth, only to give up two more long-balls in the bottom half including the game-tying two-run shot.
Somehow, State channeled its inner-rally banana and broke through with a four-spot in the 11th.
The Dawgs hung on for an emotionally charged 10-6 triumph, punching one of the most hard-earned tickets to the College World Series in the history of the sport.
The entire weekend was truly bananas. MSU Interim head baseball Coach Gary Henderson said, “It was a ride of a lifetime, and way too many things happened to go into the details, but to culminate it by giving up three in the ninth and be sitting here right now talking about going to Omaha is an unbelievable experience. You don’t get that ride in life.”
MSU right fielder Elijah MacNamee said, “We deserve every right to be here. That was one of the best – the best game of my life. They fought their hearts out, that was the most incredible ninth inning I’ve ever seen both ways. They didn’t give up, we didn’t give up. But that’s that dog fight in us.”
MSU pitcher Cole Gordon said, “It’s nothing I’ve ever felt before. All I can really say is I’m just really proud to be a Bulldog today. The way these guys fought, the way this team was all year, we could have given up a lot of times throughout the year, throughout this game even. I think it speaks a lot to our character as a team, our bond that we have and we’re not done yet.”
MSU pitcher Jacob Billingsley said, “I’ve been here five years and it’s worth every single thing that we’ve done. Everything. And it is so much fun. Obviously, that was a great team we played. It was three hard games, I mean it’s two walk-offs at the end of it to decide the first two games. So, it is freaking – it’s unreal. It’s unreal.”
MSU center fielder Jake Mangum said, “Initial thought was just everything we’ve been through this year. This team has battled the most amount of adversity you can imagine, and here we are. Going to Omaha.”
This will be Mississippi State’s 10th trip to Omaha in program history and its first since the national runners up finish to UCLA in 2013.