“I was proud of Will Bednar and Landon Sims, the way they pitched. And you gotta tip your hat to Scott Foxhall, our pitching coach. I kept telling him before the game when we saw the wind, I said the best thing to do is just strike them out and he was able to do that. I really did make that comment. But he was — our pitchers were phenomenal tonight.” – Chris Lemonis’ opening statement following MSU’s 2-1 Victory over Texas
On a night in which the wind was blowing dead out to Center Field, Will Bednar and Landon Sims brought the fire for Mississippi State. Runs were hard to come by for both the Bulldogs and the Longhorns, as every man who took the mound seemed to have their A Tier Stuff. Here’s the breakdown:
From the very start, it was evident this clash was going to be a pitcher’s duel. In the first three innings of the game, MSU and Texas traded strikeouts from Bednar and Ty Madden, both of whom ended up putting in terrific performances. In the top of the 4th, MSU broke through Madden’s defenses and strung together good ABs, something either team struggled to do throughout the game. A walk, single, flyout and triple cashed in two for the Dogs, with RBI credit going to Scotty Dubrule and Brad Cumbest.
Will Bednar held the two run lead for the next three innings, racking up even more K’s along the way. By the time Bednar was pulled in the 7th inning, he had put together a historic stat line. His 15 K’s and 1 allowed hit over 6 IP was an all-time Omaha performance and one that set that table for MSU to win the ball game as a whole. While Texas finally got Bednar off the mound, they in turn had to face Landon Sims. Sims came in and shut down the Texas threat in both the 7th and the 8th, setting up for a big 9th inning.
For Texas on the mound, credit goes to Ty Madden. Madden pitched 7 innings of work and only allowed 2 runs as opposed to his 10 Ks. Unfortunately for the Horns, they couldn’t compound anything at the plate until it was too late. The ninth started rough for the Bulldogs as Mike Antico went yard and sliced the lead in half. With the pressure on, Sims settled back in and got two quick outs setting up Ivan Melendez as the last chance for the Horns. On the 13th pitch of the battle with Sims, Melendez roped a single, and was followed up by a single from Cam Williams. The fans watched with baited breath as Douglas Hodo III hit a wicked grounder that was cleanly scooped by Scotty Dubrule and thrown to Josh Hatcher at 1st sending MSU into the winner’s bracket.
Of note were the records set by the pitching staffs during the game. Landon Sims and Will Bednar set the CWS record for most K’s by a single team in a 9 inning CWS game, while Ty Madden’s added Ks set a record for two combined team’s performances.
Texas HC David Pierce discussed the game and summarized it perfectly when he stated: “Eight best teams in the country going head to head. And you need to create your breaks. And so if you don’t create your breaks, you’re going to potentially have the same result.”
With Texas on the brink, it will be interesting to see if they can create any more breaks for themselves in the tournament going forward. They play Tennessee in the loser’s bracket game while MSU will play Virginia Tuesday Night.