Mississippi State excludes Vanderbilt in CWS Game 3 to win NCAA baseball title: recap of live updates, highlights

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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – Will Bednar and Landon Sims combined on a hit, Mississippi State scored early and strengthened their lead, and the Bulldogs won their first National Championship with a 9-0 victory over Vanderbilt in the decisive third game of the College World Series final on Wednesday night.

Bednar, working on three days off, walked three of the top five hitters he faced before retiring 15 in a row. He handed the game over to the Bulldogs star closer to start the seventh, and Vandy broke the draw when Carter Young scored in the middle of the field with a putout in the eighth.

It was the first hit at CWS since 2014, and it looked like the whole town of Starkville, Mississippi was at TD Ameritrade Park to witness it.

When third baseman Kamren James pitched first for the final, the Bulldogs’ dugout emptied and around 100 fans jumped from the stands to celebrate as Josh Hatcher waved a national championship flag around the infield. Players then walked the warning trail reaching fans up to five times.

“You lose the first game of the series and you know how much our community and our school want this trophy. … When you’re gonna do something legendary, it’s gonna be hard. The reason we are champions is because we have a strong and resilient squad. It was built over time.

Bednar (9-1), whose 15 strikeouts in his Omaha debut against Texas on June 20 were the most here in 25 years, made four against Vandy (49-18) and was named CWS MVP.

The National Championship is the first of a team sport for the State of Mississippi (50-18) and it was held during the Bulldogs’ 12th appearance at CWS. Only Florida State (23) and Clemson (12) have been to Omaha at least as many times without winning a title.

Tanner and Clark hit a homerun in the seventh inning by four runs to put the game out of reach against an offense from Vanderbilt who only had seven hits and three runs in the last 25 innings of the Finals.

“We didn’t play our best baseball towards the end,” said Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin. “Crossing the regional was moving, crossing the super regional was moving, and it wasn’t easy here. And then there was the tidal wave of momentum on the other side. You could feel it and it was real.

Mississippi State eliminated Kumar Rocker (14-4) in the fifth. Four of the top-five hitters in the inning singles, and the projected top-10 pick in the draft left his team 5-0 down in their last appearance for Vanderbilt.

“He meant so much to our program, so much to varsity baseball, so much to the SEC,” said Corbin. “He is the best reflection of his parents. It is a great praise. He just did everything right. I love this young man.

It was the second time in three CWS starts that Rocker wasn’t at his best, in part due to a weaker defense behind him.

The Commodores made six errors in the second and third games of the final and 13 in seven CWS games. The Bulldogs have been faultless in their seven games.

Wednesday’s game ended a CWS unlike any other since it began in 1947. There was no CWS last year due to the pandemic, and COVID-19 was never forgotten during the return of the event, even though the stadium was at full capacity.

Positive COVID-19 tests and contact tracing left North Carolina state with only half of its roster available in a 3-1 loss to Vanderbilt last Friday. That night, a total of eight players had tested positive and prompted the NCAA to remove the Wolfpack from the tournament due to COVID-19 protocols.

A second bracket final between NC State and Vandy was declared without a competition, and the Commodores advanced to the final to win a second straight title and a third since 2014.

They won the opener 8-2 after scoring seven runs in the first inning, but they didn’t do much for the rest of the series.

Mississippi State won 13-2 in Game 2 and then, thanks to Bednar, was able to claim their title victory.

“Great comeback for them,” Corbin said. “They realized they weren’t out of this when we beat them in the first game.”

It has been 36 years since the still-talked-about 1985 Bulldogs with future major league greats Will Clark and Rafael Palmeiro became one of the best, if not the best, teams not to win from CWS.

The 85-team won their first two games in Omaha, then lost two games in a row and left. The next four MSU teams to make the CWS haven’t won more than one game here.

The 2013 Bulldogs advanced to the finals and went up in flames, swept away by UCLA and only scored one point in both games. The 2018 squad didn’t fight much in the bracket final against Oregon State, and the 2019 squad took a ninth inning lead in an elimination game against Louisville.

“All of the former players own some of it,” Lemonis said.

– Eric Olson, The Associated Press

GAME LIVE UPDATES SUMMARY 3

Following Mississippi State’s 13-2 victory last night and Vanderbilt’s 8-2 victory in the first meeting between these teams, the finals of the 2021 World College Baseball Series take place tonight in Omaha. Can the Commodores repeat as champions, or will it be the Bulldogs who claim the NCAA national title? Game 3 starts on Wednesday, June 29 at 4 p.m. PT / 7 p.m. ET with a live broadcast on ESPN2.

• You can watch Vanderbilt vs. Mississippi State CWS Game 3 live for FREE with fuboTV (free try)

LATEST LIVE UPDATES & VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

3 CHANCES GAME

MoneyLine: VAN (-150) | MSU (+125)

Broadcast: VAN (-1.5) | MSU (+1.5)

More less: 8

HOW TO WATCH

What: The Mississippi State Bulldogs face the Vanderbilt Commodores in Game 3 of their 2021 World College Baseball Series playoffs. The series is all about best-of-three games to decide a winner. Vanderbilt led the series 1-0 after an 8-2 win in Game 1, the series is now tied at 1-1 after Mississippi won 13-2 in Game 2. The winner of Game 3 will be The 2021 NCAA Division I College Baseball National Champion.

Or: TD Ameritrade Park | Omaha, Nebraska

When: Game 3 – 4 p.m. PT / 7 p.m. ET Wednesday, June 30 (full program below)

TV channel: ESPN2

How To Watch Live Stream Online: You can watch the match live for FREE with fuboTV (free try). You can also get this game on Hulu + Live (free trial) or Sling TV (promotional offers) or AT&T TV (promotional offers), if you have run out of FuboTV trials, or if you simply prefer these platforms and their pricing plans. You can also watch this match live on Watch ESPN with your cable or satellite provider ID.

2021 SCHEDULE FOR WORLD BASEBALL COLLEGE SERIES

• Game 1: Vanderbilt 8, Mississippi State 2 – FINAL (Game Recap)

• Game 2: Mississippi State 13, Vanderbilt 2 – FINAL (Game Recap)

• Game 3: Vanderbilt vs. Mississippi State, 4 p.m. PT / 7 p.m. ET Wednesday, June 30 ESPN2

*If necessary

Tim Brown, The Oregonian / OregonLive | @timfs brown

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