On more than a handful of occasions since Mississippi State flew out of Golden Triangle Regional Airport towards Omaha last Wednesday, Bulldog players and coaches have referred to MSU’s College World Series appearance as a business trip. So it was incredibly fitting that as State started its run on college baseball’s biggest stage against Texas on Sunday, it was a business administration major leading the way with a pitching performance Bulldogs everywhere will be talking about for years to come.
MSU right-hander Will Bednar baffled Longhorn bats all night long, setting a new Mississippi State record for strikeouts in a College World Series game, and the Bulldogs went on to top Texas 2-1 at TD Ameritrade Park. Bednar set the tone as he punched out 15 Longhorns over 6-plus shutout innings. On a night with a 20 mile-per-hour wind blowing out to straight center, Bednar helped create a stiff breeze all on his own as Longhorn after Longhorn swung and missed.
“I felt like it was a great performance – probably my best ever – especially on this big of a stage,” Bednar said. “It was really cool.”
Bednar certainly got some help as the Bulldogs advanced to a 6 PM CT winner’s bracket game on Tuesday against Virginia. The MSU bats gave him a pair of 4th inning runs – one on a Scotty Dubrule sacrifice fly that plated Kamren James, and another on an RBI triple by Brad Cumbest that sent Luke Hancock around to score. And Landon Sims earned a save with three strong innings at the back end to close things out. Sims had six whiffs of his own to give State pitching a new NCAA single-game record with 21 total strikeouts.
Mississippi State head baseball coach Chris Lemonis, centerfielder Rowdy Jordan, and starting pitcher Will Bednar all met with the media postgame to talk about the win. Video is courtesy of the NCAA and the College World Series.