College World Series: Mississippi State beats Vanderbilt

OMAHA, NE - JUNE 30: Kellum Clark #11 of the Mississippi St. Bulldogs celebrates with teammates after hitting a three-run home run against the Vanderbilt Commodores  during the seventh inning during the Division I Men's Baseball Championship held at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha on June 30, 2021 in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by Justin Tafoya/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

143 years after its founding, Mississippi State has its first team championship. (Photo by Justin Tafoya/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

The Mississippi State baseball team fell 1.2 innings short of a historic combined no-hitter. They’ll settle for the first NCAA team championship in Bulldogs history.

Riding a dominant showing on both offense and defense, Mississippi State defeated Vanderbilt 9-0 in Game 3 of the 2021 College World Series to capture the school’s first baseball title, and the school’s first title in any team sport overall. 

By the first inning, the Bulldogs were in the lead. By seventh inning, the only question remaining was if they would celebrate their win with or without the first combined no-hitter in College World Series history.

That was eventually answered in the eighth inning, when Vanderbilt shortstop Carter Young hit a one-out single to at least get the Commodores in the hit column. The score was 9-0 by then.

The Bulldogs had little trouble scoring despite facing likely MLB draft top 10 pick Kumar Rocker, who exited in the fifth inning after allowing six hits and five runs (four earned) while striking out six and walking two. Rowdey Jordan, Tanner Allen, Luke Hancock and Logan Tanner all had multiple hits, while designated hitter Kellum Clark blew the game open with a three-run homer.

Mississippi State ace Will Bednar, a first-round draft prospect himself, opened the game with six no-hit innings, striking out four and walking three. Relief ace Landon Sims took it from there, throwing three scoreless innings to preserve the shutout.

Will Bednar wins Most Outstanding Player

Bednar’s gem was his latest superb performance. He finished the tournament with three runs allowed in 18.1 innings across three starts, striking out 26 and allowing only five hits.

That all added up to a pretty convincing case for Most Outstanding Player:

The Mississippi State drought is over

The win ends a team championship drought lasting the school’s century-plus history. The program hadn’t lacked in opportunities to end the drought, especially recently. The baseball team was playing in its 12th College World Series, finishing as runner-up in 2013, and its women’s basketball team made back-to-back NCAA finals appearances in 2017 and 2018.

Even the football team was ranked No. 1 in the first College Football Playoff rankings in 2014, when Dak Prescott was under center. Prescott, now starring for the Dallas Cowboys, was in attendance on Wednesday, one of many notable alumni in Omaha.

That’s all over now, thanks to the seventh-seeded baseball team topping the defending champions in three games. It fell in Game 1 to Vanderbilt and its other top 10 MLB prospect Jack Leiter, but blew the Commodores out in Game 2 to force a Game 3.

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