OMAHA, Neb. — Will Bednar and Landon Sims combined on a one-hitter, Mississippi State scored early and built on its lead, and the Bulldogs won their first national championship with a 9-0 victory over Vanderbilt in the deciding third game of the College World Series finals Wednesday night.
Bednar, working on three days’ rest, walked three of the first five batters he faced before retiring 15 in a row. He turned the game over to the Bulldogs’ star closer to start the seventh, and Vandy broke up the no-hitter when Carter Young singled into center field with one out in the eighth.
It was the first one-hitter at the CWS since 2014, and it seemed like the whole city of Starkville, Mississippi, was at TD Ameritrade Park to witness it.
When third baseman Kamren James threw to first for the final out, the Bulldogs’ dugout emptied and about 100 fans jumped out of the stands to celebrate as Josh Hatcher waved a national championship flag around the infield. The players then walked the warning track reaching up to high-five the fans that love them so much.
Bednar (9-1), whose 15 strikeouts in his Omaha debut against Texas on June 20 were the most here in 25 years, fanned four against Vandy (49-18) and was named the CWS Most Outstanding Player.
Tanner and Clark homered in the four-run seventh inning to put the game out of reach against a Vanderbilt offense that managed just seven hits and three runs over the last 25 innings of the finals.
Mississippi State (50-18) knocked out Kumar Rocker (14-4) in the fifth. Four of the first five batters in the inning singled, and Rocker left with his team down 5-0. It was the second time in three CWS starts that the projected top-10 draft pick wasn’t at his best, in part because of more shaky defense behind him.
The Commodores committed six errors in the second and third games of the finals and 13 in seven CWS games. The Bulldogs were error-free in their seven games.
The national championship is the first in a team sport for the school and it came in the Bulldogs’ 12th CWS appearance. Only Florida State (23) and Clemson (12) have been to Omaha at least as many times without winning a title.