Tanner Leggett told himself to stay where his feet were. He told himself to stay short. He did both, and now his, and #3 Mississippi State’s feet, are squarely in the NCAA College World Series Championship Series.
Leggett’s RBI single to left-center field gave Mississippi State (48-17) its first lead of the game and 5th walk-off win of the season. Texas (50-17) scored twice in the 2nd and once in the 5th inning to hold a 3-1 lead going into the bottom of the 5th. State scored once in the 5th and once in the 6th, before Brayland Skinner crossed home plate in the 9th inning for the winning run.
Mississippi State will make its 2nd appearance in the event’s championship series, joining the 2013 team that advanced to the best-two-of-three format against UCLA.
In the 2021 NCAA postseason, the Bulldogs have won five one-run games – including all three CWS victories, and are 2-0 in elimination scenarios.
On the mound, Will Bednar became the 7th Diamond Dawg to start multiple games at the College World Series and pushed his name to the top of the strikeout charts at the event. His 7 strikeouts against the Longhorns on Saturday moved his total to 22, to push him past Chad Girodo, who fanned 19 batters in two appearances at the 2013 event.
In 6 1/3 innings of work, Bednar allowed three runs on four hits in a no decision. He walked two and struck out seven before leaving the game with a runner on first and one out in the 7th to hand the ball to Landon Sims.
Sims (5-0) went the rest of the way and allowed just one base runner – a 9th inning hit-by-pitch – and struck out four batters to pick up the win.
Rowdey Jordan and Tanner Allen continued to etch their names into Mississippi State College World Series lore, as the duo sits one-two on the career CWS hits charts entering the championship series. Jordan went 2-for-4 to push his total to 11 hits at the CWS, while Allen now has 10 hits after a 2-for-4 evening at the plate. Allen’s RBI single in the 3rd inning moved his CWS total to seven, which ties him for #2 with Jordan Westburg on MSU’s career list.
Logan Tanner also chipped in a pair of hits, while Kellum Clark was on base three times with a single, double and hit-by-pitch. Clark scored one run and reached base in the 9th on the HBP and was pinch ran for by Skinner. In all, eight of nine Diamond Dawgs starters reached base in the game.
For Texas, Tristan Stevens allowed three runs on nine hits over five innings, before Cole Quintianilla threw the final 3 1/3 innings and allowed the one run on two hits. Cam Williams had a pair of hits, which included a two-run home run, and Mike Antico drove in the Longhorns third RBI.
The championship series begins Monday night vs. Vanderbilt. The Dawgs dropped 2 of 3 against Vandy in the regular season. After the game, Mississippi State head baseball coach Chris Lemonis, closer Landon Sims, and the hero of the game with the big hit Tanner Leggett-all spoke to the media about the win and looking forward to Vandy. Video is courtesy of the NCAA and the College World Series.