There’s no way other way to say it: Mississippi State and Vanderbilt played the best series in the history of the Super Regionals.
This series gave us big moments, high drama, and back-and-forth action for 29 innings.
Some examples of what we saw:
- All 3 games were tied in the bottom of the 9th.
- A walk-off homer on Friday from Elijah MacNamee.
- A walk-off homer on Saturday from Vandy’s JJ Bleday.
- Three runs in T9 from State on Sunday followed by 3 runs in B9 from Vandy.
- 10 lead changes in the series.
Vandy’s season is finished but after running through the Clemson Regional (again) and falling just short in the best Super Regional ever, they’ve proven they are a top-ten program. Tim Corbin continues to produce very good baseball teams in Nashville.
As for the Bulldogs – they shouldn’t even be here, right? After a 20-10 embarrassment in game 1 of the regional, State should have lost to host Florida State and have a new coach by now. But then Elijah MacNamee happened and it’s been a fairy tale ever since.
MacNamee’s two out, bottom of the 9th homer against FSU in the regional’s first elimination game showed me that State might be a team of destiny. After a back and forth win over Samford, MSU had to beat OU twice to advance. The Omadogs did just that – both games in blowout fashion.
The three games in Nashville would each be considered a classic if not for the totality of the series. This was stuff you see in an unrealistic movie. If you were handed a script with these endings, wouldn’t you just roll your eyes? Certainly before what we saw this weekend.
Who would believe that consecutive games would end with walk-off home runs?
Who would believe that in the deciding game, a team would score 3 in the 9th to take a lead only to give up 3 in the bottom of that inning?
Who would believe that a team could push their coach out during the season and still make it to Omaha?
Who would believe that a team left for dead a half dozen times this season could pull together and rally every single time?
Here’s a recap of the absolute crazy things the Mississippi State Bulldogs Have Overcome in 2018:
- Swept by USM in the first weekend of the year.
- Canned their head coach after allegations of impropriety.
- Played their first 11 games on the road.
- Swept the Houston College Classic (allowing only 4 runs total in 3 games).
- Swept by Vanderbilt in Starkville.
- Began the SEC schedule 2-7 – scoring 1 or less in 5 of those games.
- Series win over #3 Ole Miss.
- Ace Konnor Pilkington got the opening-win over Ole Miss on April 7. And hasn’t won a game since. Pilkington has just 2 wins in 17 starts.
- Series sweep over #3 Arkansas.
- Won the Governor’s Cup.
- Swept #1 Florida.
- Won last 4 SEC games to get to .500 in the league.
- Finished the regular season 9-1 vs top 5 RPI teams.
- Gave up 20 runs in regional opener – first time in 9 years to do so.
- Facing elimination and down to their last strike, hit a walk-off HR to beat national-seed FSU.
- Revenged the 20-10 disaster by beating OU twice to win the regional.
- In first game of Super Regional, hit walk-off HR to get within a game of Omaha.
- In 2nd game of Super, give up a walk-off HR to tie the series up.
- In final game, score 3 runs in T9 to take a commanding lead. Then give up 3 in B9.
- In the 11th, score 4 runs to win it and head to Omaha.
This isn’t the best Bulldog team of all time but perhaps the most memorable one. State fans will savor this season for years to come. This team – led by Elijah MacNamee, Rowdey Jordan, and Jake Mangum – is college baseball’s ultimate Cinderella story.
Congrats, Bulldogs. You earned it.