CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Omaha, the Bulldogs are coming back.
Mississippi State clinched its ninth appearance in the College World Series with a dramatic 6-5 win over No. 6 national seed Virginia Monday afternoon at Davenport Field to clinch the Charlottesville Super Regional.
With the victory, the Bulldogs swept the Super Regional best-of-three series and won its second-ever Super Regional in five career tries. MSU advances to the College World Series for the first time since 2007 and will play for a first-time in the new CWS home, T.D. Ameritrade Stadium.
MSU will face either Kansas State or Oregon State in an opening-round of the eight-team, double-elimination CWS. The Bulldogs will play either Saturday or Sunday. An official game day, game time and television assignment is expected from the NCAA later Monday.
MSU held a 5-3 lead when the series clincher was suspended by rain in the seventh inning Sunday night. Once play resumed Monday, the Bulldogs expanded the lead before holding off a furious Cavaliers rally in the ninth inning.
The story of the series clincher was the relief performance of Chad Girodo. Trevor Fitts started on the mound for the Bulldogs and was lifted with one out in the third inning and his team down 1-0.
From there, Girodo (8-1) sparkled in relief, allowing five hits and two runs (both earned), with 10 strikeouts and two walks. In three regional and super regional appearances, Girodo recorded 24 punch outs.
The Bulldogs (48-18) erased the 1-0 deficit with a single score in the second inning and Wes Rea's mammoth home run in the third inning. Rea hit a two-run shot into the trees in left field. It was the Maroon and White's first postseason home run.
An inning later, the Bulldogs extended the lead to 5-1 and chased Cavaliers' ace Scott Silverstein (10-2). Silverstein allowed seven hits and five runs (four earned), with one strikeout and three walks. The Bulldogs battled at the plate and extended Silverstein's outing, as the fifth-year senior threw 71 pitches.
For the contest, MSU finished with 10 hits, after pounding out 20 hits in an 11-6 win in the series opener Saturday. Frazier had two hits and finished the Super Regional hitting at an 8-for-11 clip. Frazier is now second on the all-time single season hits list at MSU with 102 hits, one shy of the school record by Brian Wiese.
C.T. Bradford and Derrick Armstrong also had multiple hits.
Virginia (50-12) responded with two runs in the sixth inning. Nate Irving lined a two-run double for the Cavaliers in that at-bat. Girodo worked his squad out of that tight spot and with skies threatening worked a 1-2-3 seventh inning.
After play was suspended, Hunter Renfroe got things stated in the home half of the seventh inning with a leadoff triple for MSU. Renfroe trotted home with an RBI-single by Bradford.
In relief, Jonathan Holder worked a 1-2-3 eighth inning but ran into trouble in the ninth inning. The Bulldogs gave up two hits and a walk, while also making an error on a potential game-ending ground ball. Still, Holder regrouped and got a ground ball from Derek Fisher to end the contest.
As the last out was recorded, Holder pointed to the skies and Bulldog players came from everywhere for a Maroon-clad dog pile on the pitcher's mound.
As the skies darkened again, the Bulldogs celebrated, a large Maroon and White contingent chanted "S-E-C, S-E-C" and notice was served that MSU was ready for college baseball's biggest stage.