STARKVILLE - Mississippi State (50-13) is now one away from making back to back trips to Omaha and the College World Series after knocking off Stanford (45-13) in game one of the NCAA Super Regional. The Bulldogs got quality pitching and timely hits to pull away from the Cardinal in the early innings.
Stanford jumped out to a 1-0 lead after just a half inning of play, but Mississippi State would tie the game at 1-1 in the second. The Bulldogs added two more in the second and three in the fourth to give the Mississippi State pitching staff all the cushion they would need.
Starter Ethan Small worked six innings in his final start at Dudy Noble Field and earned his tenth victory against just two losses. Three Bulldog relievers combined to manage the final three innings on the evening.
While the Bulldogs were pulling away and looking to close the contest on a winning note, Mississippi State player Jack Eagan suffered what was deemed a "non-athletic medical event" in the third base dugout just before the top of the 7th inning. Eagan was later taken to the hospital by emergency medical personnel. Coach Chris Lemonis shared a bit of an update with the media following the ball game. The one big comment was that Eagan was in stable condition.
With heavy hearts over their teammate's condition, Mississippi State found a way to rebound and finish off Stanford to take game one of the huge series between baseball national powers. Prior to the evening, Stanford was 2-0 all time against the Diamond Dawgs. Mississippi State now has a chance to even that record against the Cardinal with a win on Sunday.
Mississippi State has announced that senior right hander Peyton Plumlee (6-3, 3.87 ERA) will get the start. Plumlee pitched last Sunday in a regional final win over Miami last weekend. Stanford plans to counter with ace southpaw Alex Williams (8-1, 2.56 ERA). Williams, a freshman All-American, threw a complete game in last weekend's regional win over Sacramento State.
With the stakes higher than ever and the crowds reaching NCAA milestones, a fever pitched atmosphere is expected in Starkville. On Saturday, the third largest crowd in NCAA on campus super regional history was on hand at Dudy Noble Field. 13, 132 fans were on hand to see the hard fought contest.
The Bulldogs are now just one win away from returning to Omaha. Should State advance to the College World Series, it would be just the second time in program history that the Bulldogs were able to make back to back trips to the promised land of college baseball. The last time the Bulldogs accomplished that feat was in 1997 and 1998.
Stanford's last trip to Omaha came in 2008. The Cardinal will look to extend the series with a win tomorrow, while the Bulldogs will look to close things out and avoid a winner take all final game on Monday.