Omaha, Nebraska (incnow.tv)- Indiana Baseball (49-15) suffered its first loss of the College World Series when Mississippi State’s late-inning push gave the Bulldogs (50-18) a 5-4 win. A three-run eighth erased the Hoosiers’ lead and advanced MSU into the four-team bracket finals on Friday. Meanwhile, Indiana is now set to battle Oregon State (51-12) in a Wednesday afternoon elimination game.
The Bulldogs took the first bite, digging into Will Coursen-Carr for a run in the first inning. A pair of veteran defensive play by senior shortstop Michael Basil limited the damage to a lone tally, however, allowing the frosh hurler to settle in a bit. Coursen-Carr went on to retire 13 of the next 16 batters before running into a bit of trouble in the top of the sixth. His final line read: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K.
Basil remained locked in after drawing a walk in the bottom of the second. He jumped on an opportunity, taking second base on a pitch in the dirt sliding headfirst under the tag. The advancement proved vital as Casey Smith brought him home on a liner into centerfield to even the score at 1-1.
Just as he had three times Saturday in the Hoosiers’ CWS-opening win, Will Nolden opened an inning by getting aboard. After an opposite field single to start the bottom of the third, He wheeled on over to third base on a single into left field by Kyle Schwarber. Nolden then came into score via Sam Travis’ rarely-seen ‘double through the right side.’ Travis’ team-leading ninth NCAA Tournament RBI gave IU a lead and Scott Donley’s Big Ten-best 62nd run driven in overall extended the Hoosier advantage to 3-1.
Mississippi State forced a change on the mound in the sixth, sneaking in a run and putting two runners aboard. Head coach Tracy Smith made the call to Ryan Halstead, and the school’s all-time career saves leader made good on the skipper’s choice. Halstead induced a pop up and fly out to maintain Indiana’s 3-2 lead.
MSU strung some offense together in the top of the eighth beginning with back-to-back singles by Brett Pirtle and Wes Rea. With a runners on the corners, Halstead struckout C.T. Bradford for the first out of the inning. The Bulldogs then tied the game on a Demarcus Henderson single to right field with Pirtle sliding under Schwarber’s tag on a play at the plate.
Halstead then induced a ground ball to the first baseman as IU’s Travis stepped on the bag for the unassisted second out. Brian Korte was then called from the bullpen and faced MSU’s Trey Porter with runners on second and third. Porter lined a 3-1 fastball to right center to drive in two runs and put Mississippi State in the driver’s seat, 5-3.
That score would hold until the Hoosiers came to the plate in the bottom of the ninth. Chris Sujka came off the bench and singled to right field to start things. Schwarber then just missed making solid contact and sent a high fly ball to the edge of the warning track in centerfield for the first out. Travis then stepped to the dish and sent a hot shot off the wall in center field for a double which sent Sujka to third.
Donley put the ball in play with a ground ball to second base for the second out of the inning and Sujka trotted home to make it a 5-4 score as Travis went to third. MSU then brought in its closer Jonathan Holder to face Indiana’s Basil. Basil then hit a slow roller back to the pitcher to end the game.
Indiana and Oregon State will play on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT with the Hoosiers being the home team.
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