OMAHA, Neb. – On the game’s biggest stage, it was only fitting the Mississippi State baseball team kept conducting business as usual Saturday night.
Luke Alexander had his third walk-off hit of the season as the OmaDawgs opened the College World Series with a 1-0 win over Washington before a crowd of 24,758 at TD Ameritrade Park.
The Bulldogs now own a walk-off win in regional, super regional and world series play.
In Monday night’s winner’s bracket matchup, MSU (38-27) will face North Carolina (44-18) at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN. The winner there will be the last undefeated team on this side of the bracket.
“It is pretty much what we have done throughout the postseason,” MSU assistant coach Jake Gautreau said. “We hit a lot of balls hard throughout the game. We only struck out twice. Their defense is really outstanding. We were just able to get the big hit when we needed it the most.”
The pitching matchup between Washington’s Joe DeMers and MSU’s Ethan Small kept the fans on the edge of their seat all night.
Small threw seven innings, allowing four hits with five strikeouts. JP France pitched a perfect eighth inning, while Cole Gordon and Zach Neff (4-3) combined to finish the shutout in the ninth inning,
The MSU pitching quartet did not walk a batter and allowed six total hits.
DeMers threw 7.1 innings, allowing seven hits and no runs, with two strikeouts and a walk. A Jake Mangum double with one out in the eighth inning ended his night.
Alex Hardy (5-3) took the loss for the Huskies.
In the MSU ninth inning, Hunter Stovall and Elijah MacNamee started things with back-to-back hits. After a failed bunt attempt, Alexander hit a ball over the right fielder’s head for a game-winning single.
Stovall and Alexander each had three of MSU’s 10 hits. MacNamee and Mangum added two hits apiece.
NEXT UP FOR MSU
The Diamond Dawgs move on to the winner’s portion of this side of the bracket and will face off against North Carolina on Monday at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN.