COURTESY OF VANDY ATHLETICS
Mississippi State rode the lights-out pitching of Will Bednar and taxed Vanderbilt pitching for nine runs in a 9-0 win Wednesday in the national championship game at TD Ameritrade Park.
The College World Series victory gave the Bulldogs (50-18) its first national championship and Mississippi State its first national title in any sport in school history. Vandy finished its season 49-18 and as national runner-up for the 2nd time in its history as it fell one win short of a 3rd national championship.
Bednar (9-1) bedazzled for Mississippi State. The freshman went 6 innings without allowing a hit, struck out four and worked around three walks. Landon Sims relieved Bednar and finally allowed a Vandy hit, a one-out single to Carter Young in the eighth. But that was all the Commodores could muster all night.
Vanderbilt starter Kumar Rocker (14-4) did not fare as well in what was likely his final outing as a Commodore. Rowdey Jordan greeted Rocker rudely with a first-pitch single to right field. After a strikeout, Rocker got a comeback, but his throw to second sailed to the right of the bag allowing Bulldog runners to stand at first and third. Luke Hancock’s sacrifice fly to right-center scored Jordan making it a 1-0 game. In the second, Rocker issued back-to-back walks to start the frame. One out later, after the runners each moved up 90 feet, Lane Forsythe rolled a ball to short to plate Scotty Dubrule making it a 2-0 game. Jordan came up and poked a two-out, two-strike RBI double into left making it a 3-0 game.
Mississippi State’s fifth began with a Vanderbilt error and a Tanner Allen single. One out later Hancock rolled a single through the middle upping the score to 4-0 and that was followed by a Logan Tanner single to center making it 5-0 and chasing Rocker from the game. The junior was charged five runs – four earned – on six hits and two walks. He struck out six over 4 1/3 innings and threw 92 pitches. Tanner hit a solo home run off Vandy reliever Chris McElvain making it 6-0 in the seventh. Kellum Clark added a three-run shot a few moments later making it 9-0.
That was plenty of support for Bednar and Sims. The latter got a groundout to third ending the night and evoking a celebration decades in the making for those in maroon and white.
Vandy head baseball coach Tim Corbin and ‘Dores starting pitcher Kumar Rocker talked about the loss after the game with the media. Video is courtesy of the NCAA and The College World Series.