Bulldogs punch ticket to Omaha with 8-1 W over Stanford
PHOTO COURTESY OF MISSISSIPPI STATE ATHLETICS

Story by SportsTalk Mississippi’s MSU Beat Reporter Brian Hadad

Mississippi State going to the College World Series a season ago was something between an answered prayer and a miracle. The Bulldogs’ return to Omaha this season was more meeting expectations than anything else, as a team that returned so much production from a year ago looked the part for a contender this summer. Consider those goals achieved, as the Bulldogs knocked off Stanford in relatively easy fashion 8-1 to advance to the sport’s pinnacle event for the 11th time in school history. State got 6.2 strong innings from senior Peyton Plumlee, and a 3 RBI triple by Dustin Skelton broke the game open in the third inning. State would enjoy a dramatic ninth inning to put the game away, with Cole Gordon getting a strikeout to finish it off and set loose a wild celebration at Dudy Noble Field.

A PLUM PERFORMANCE

With JT Ginn being held out in hopes he wouldn’t be needed at all, Mississippi State turned to senior Peyton Plumlee to get the Bulldogs on to Omaha. Plumlee delivered an incredible start, 6.2 innings, 2 hits and only one run allowed, a solo home run by Stanford’s Kyle Stowers to lead off the game. Plumlee’s emergence as the reliable third starter is one of the biggest reasons Mississippi State will be favored by many to take the whole shooting match in the coming weeks. When you take into account his suspension for the 2018 season, it adds another layer of drama and emotion to what has been an incredible season in Starkville.

SKELTON FOR MVP

We didn’t vote for an MVP of the Super Regional, but if we had, Dustin Skelton would have gotten my vote. His near grand slam turned into a 3 RBI triple that gave Mississippi State momentum that they never relinquished, and he made two incredible defensive plays that really showcased what an improvement he’s made in just one season. A year ago, there were many calls for Skelton to be benched, now he’s one of the most dangerous hitters in college baseball.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Mississippi State will take on the winner of the North Carolina/Auburn series, which will conclude tomorrow with a decisive Game 3. THe dates and time for the Bulldogs’ first game have not been set at this moment, but one thing we do know is Coach Chris Lemonis expects his ace Ethan Small on the mound when the Diamond Dawgs do take the field. He also relayed to us that JT Ginn was indeed available to pitch on Monday, and he is expected to be in the rotation when the College World Series begins on Saturday.