NASHVILLE, Tenn. – For Mississippi State baseball, the season comes down to one game.
The Bulldogs fell in heart-breaking fashion Saturday night, as Vanderbilt's J.J. Bleday hit a walk-off home run in the ninth inning to lift the Commodores to a 4-3 victory in the second game of the Nashville Super Regional played at Hawkins Field.
In the super regional opener, MSU used a two-run walk-off home run by Elijah MacNamee to take a 10-8 victory.
That means MSU (36-27) and Vanderbilt (35-26) will play at 5 p.m. Sunday in the deciding game of this series and for a right to advance to a Saturday game at the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.
The Bulldogs trailed for the first time in this super regional when Bleday hit his one-out walk-off in the home half of the ninth inning.
In the second inning, the Bulldogs scored twice. Justin Foscue drew a walk and Luke Alexander followed with a single. After a sacrifice bunt by Dustin Skelton, Jake Mangum followed with a two-run single.
The Commodores then got on the board in the third inning on an RBI-single by Stephen Scott.
The Bulldogs then plated their final run in the fourth inning when Alexander singled and scored on a double by Jordan Westburg.
MSU starter Konnor Pilkington threw five innings, allowing eight hits and two runs (both earned), with six strikeouts and a walk. Pilkington allowed a leadoff hit in the sixth inning and the Commodores eventually brought a run home.
Keegan James got two outs in the inning before giving way to Zach Neff (3-3).
Neff got a critical strikeout as the Commodores left the bases loaded in the sixth inning.
Vanderbilt would then score the game-tying run in the eighth inning.
MSU had nine hits. Alexander had three of the hits, while Mangum and Rowdey Jordan each had two hits.
NEXT UP FOR MSU
One win away from the College World Series, State will look to punch its ticket to Omaha, Nebraska with a win in game three on Sunday. First pitch is set for 5 p.m. CT on ESPN.
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