Houston Harding and Preston Johnson took advantage of struggling Vanderbilt pitching in a four-hitter and joint 13–2 victory over Mississippi State that forced a third and deciding game in the College World Series Finals.
OMAHA, Neb. — Houston Harding and Preston Johnson fought a four-hitter and United over Mississippi State in a 13-2 win Tuesday night at Vanderbilt Pitching that forced the third game in the College World Series Finals to decide .
It was Vandy’s most one-sided defeat in his 29 all-time CWS games. MSU hadn’t won so easily in Omaha since it defeated Georgia Southern 15-1 in 1990.
Like in Game 1, when Vanderbilt scored seven runs in the first innings en route to an 8–2 victory, it was an early finish as Mississippi State opened things up with a four-run third inning.
Game 3 will take place on Wednesday night. The Commodores are on their way to their second straight national title and third since 2014. The Bulldogs will play for their first championship.
The Commodores issued a season-high 10 walks, including three in a row by 17-year-old starter Christian Little (3-2), which winded up Mississippi State’s big fourth inning.
The Bulldogs converted an error in the first run into a run, and the decisive third inning was opened by shortstop Carter Young with a Tanner Allen grounder, but was unable to get the ball out of his glove. It was a hit, but probably should have been out – and was a sign of things to come.
Little’s three straight walks were forced into a run and brought on reliever Patrick Reilly. Scottie Dubrule’s hard-backed player removed Reilly’s leg and scored two, and the Bulldogs got another on a base-loaded wild pitch.
Mississippi State scored five times in the seventh to push their lead into double digits.
The Bulldogs finished with 14 hits, with light-hitting shortstop Len Forsythe leading them from the No. 9 spot with three hits after taking 1 for 11 in their first five CWS games.
Johnson (4-0) allowed two hits and scored seven runs in five innings that relieved Harding.
In 2014–15 MSU’s two-time All-SEC quarterback Prescott received great excitement during an interview at the stadium when he insisted on a Bulldog fan who is far greater than Vandy in number and quantity. When an MSU fan caught a foul ball and threw it into his rear where Prescott was sitting, Prescott signed it and threw it back.
The All-SEC Finals could come down to a pitching matchup between Vanderbilt stars Kumar Rocker and Mississippi State’s Will Bednar.
Rocker, the 2019 CWS Most Outstanding Player, will be out on a four-day rest. Bednar, who scored 15 against Texas in his CWS debut on June 20, will have three days off after throwing 97 pitches in the bracket final against the Longhorns.
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