OMAHA, Neb. - There was a lot of noise Monday at TD Ameritrade Park. Vanderbilt and Jack Leiter quieted that early and throughout.
Leiter (11-4) went six strong innings and Vandy put up a seven spot in the opening inning en route to an 8-2 win at TD Ameritrade Park in the first game of the College World Series finals. The Commodores (49-16) are one win away from a national championship, which they can clinch at 7 p.m. ET Tuesday.
Leiter worked around three hits and three walks to surrender just two earned runs. He left after 107 pitches having struck out eight.
Offensively the Commodores exploded for seven in the first and punctuated the frame with a three-run homer by senior Jayson Gonzalez. All of that coming after Mississippi State (48-18) had jumped out to an early lead.
After a 61-minute weather delay at the outset, Leiter got two strike outs before Kamren James planted a 3-1 pitch into the left-field stands giving Mississippi State a quick advantage.
In the bottom half of the frame, however, Enrique Bradfield drew a walk, moved to second on a groundout and stole third after Dominic Keegan walked. Tate Kolwyck was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Parker Noland who took a pitch square in the back to tie the game at 1-all.
CJ Rodriguez came up and knocked a 2-2 pitch for a single to left making it 3-1.
After the inning's second out, Isaiah Thomas roped a double to left making it 4-1 chasing Mississippi State starter Christian MacLeod (6-6) from the game. But reliever Chase Patrick wasn't exactly welcomed to the contest.
Gonzalez took his sixth pitch out deep to left for a three-run shot and giving Vanderbilt a 7-1 lead.
MacLeod was charged with all seven runs. He walked two hitters, hit two batters, allowed two hits and threw 38 pitches.
Leiter had retired seven straight before Tanner Allen's lead-off double in the fourth. Leiter nearly got out of the jam with a strikeout and fly ball to left only to see Logan Tanner roll a single down the line into left, making it 7-2.
The score stayed that way until Gonzalez walked to start the seventh and moved to second on a Bradfield bunt. Carter Young blooped a single to center after that making it 8-2 to provide the final margin.
Vanderbilt's Nick Maldonado pitched three scoreless innings out of the bullpen to preserve the victory.
Game 2 in the best-of-three series will be played Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska in a contest that will be televised on ESPN. A win by Vandy would give the Commodores their second consecutive national championship, as they won it in 2019 and last year's CWS was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A win by Mississippi State in Game 2 would force a deciding Game 3 in Omaha on Wednesday.