Bulldogs rally back to capture win over Fighting Irish
STARKVILLE - It was a spectacle in many forms on Saturday (June 12) afternoon at Dudy Noble Field, as the largest crowd to witness an NCAA Super Regional was treated to a back-and-forth affair that No. 3 Mississippi State baseball eventually won, 9-8, over No. 4 Notre Dame.
The 14,385 fans in attendance marked the largest on-campus postseason crowd in NCAA history and ranks fifth all-time in MSU laurels. The mark gives MSU the top six Super Regional crowns in NCAA history. Additionally, Dudy Noble Field now holds the top seven on-campus crowds in NCAA history.
Notre Dame (33-12) scored in each of the first five innings to build a 7-3 lead heading to the bottom of the fifth inning.
However, Mississippi State (44-15) closed the game with six of the final seven runs to erase the four-run deficit and earn the game one victory in the best-of-three NCAA Super Regional.
The top five hitters in the MSU order produced big results, as Rowdey Jordan posted his fourth straight multi-hit game of the NCAA postseason and drove in two RBIs. Jordan's home run was his 10th of the season and gives Mississippi State four student-athletes double-digit home runs for the first time since 1998.
Tanner Allen scored three runs and extended his hitting streak to 22 games with a 1-for-3 afternoon at the plate.
Kamren James and Luke Hancock each plated two RBIs, while Logan Tanner's seventh-inning home run was the difference in the Game One win.
Preston Johnson (3-0) picked up the victory on the mound with 2 2/3 innings of relief work and just one run allowed. He surrendered two hits, didn't walk a batter and struck out two.
Landon Sims (10) closed out the game for his 10th save of the season with two clean innings of work and three strikeouts.
The State pitching staff struck out 10 Fighting Irish in the game to move the season total to 725 and set the school standard for strikeouts in a single season. The previous mark of 718 was set during the 2019 season. Along with the two from Johnson and three by Sims, starting pitcher Will Bednar fanned four and reliever Chase Patrick struck out one in the game.
For Notre Dame, Zack Prajzner went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and four RBIs. He hit his sixth home run of the season - a three run shot - and added an RBI double later in the game. John Michael Bertrand threw four innings in the start and allowed five runs - four earned - on six hits.
Tanner Kohlhepp (7-2) took the loss with four runs - three earned - allowed on four hits over four innings. The Fighting Irish committed a season-high four errors in the game and out-hit MSU, 12-10.
Head coach Chris Lemonis
On the bullpen:
"I thought our bullpen was good. Even though he missed on the one pitch, I thought Chase Patrick was really good and got us out of the jam. It was a tough day for Will Bednar. He's one of the best pitchers in the country, and we wouldn't be here without him. You have to tip your hat to the guys in the other dugout ... Our other guys came in, and our pitching got better and better as the day went on."
On the intensity of the game:
"It's about as intense as I've had. Maybe Auburn in Omaha or the first Stanford game [in 2019]. The games just seem to keep getting bigger and bigger here. What a job by our fanbase. On a day when the heat index was [100 degrees], I am soaking wet right now. I know most of our fans probably are. We had fans out here at 8:30 a.m., and I was walking around saying hey. To fill the ballpark the way they did and as loud and vocal as they were, the fans were a difference maker in today's game. We call it The Dude Effect. Our fans kept us in it the whole time.
Spencer Myers and Ryan Cole singled back-to-back before a walk for Niko Kavadas loaded the bases. Carter Putz singled to score the first run of the game. Notre Dame 1, Mississippi State 0
Tanner Allen hit a solo home run to right field to tie the game early on. Mississippi State 1, Notre Dame 1
Brooks Coetzee responded with a solo home run to left field. Notre Dame 2, Mississippi State 1
Cole walked before Kavadas and Putz were both hit-by-pitch to get on base. Jack Brannigan plated one with an RBI single. Notre Dame 3, Mississippi State 1
Rowdey Jordan doubled to right field before Allen was intentionally walked. Kamren James singled to right center and the trio advanced on an error which scored Jordan. Luke Hancock then reached on an error which plated Allen. Mississippi State 3, Notre Dame 3
Prajzner doubled to right center before an RBI single for Myers pushed him across. Notre Dame 4, Mississippi State 3
Coetzee reached on an error and LaManna singled to left field before a Prajzner home run brought three around to score. Notre Dame 7, Mississippi State 3
Jordan singled and advanced to second on Allen's fielder's choice before an RBI single for James plated him. Hancock reached on a throwing error that scored Allen and James scored on a ground out by Logan Tanner. Notre Dame 7, Mississippi State 6
Kellum Clark walked before Jordan hit a two-run home run to take the lead. Mississippi State 8, Notre Dame 7
Brannigan doubled to left field before Prajzner followed with an RBI double to tie the game. Mississippi State 8, Notre Dame 8 Bottom Seventh Logan Tanner hit a solo home run to right field to cap the scoring. Mississippi State 9, Notre Dame 8
Mississippi State and Notre Dame will meet at 5 p.m. CT on Sunday, June 13 in the second game of the best two out of three Super Regional. The game will air on either ESPN2 or ESPNU.