Jordan’s walk-off homer lifts Mississippi State to NCAA regional victory

Published 9:28 pm Friday, May 31, 2024

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Dakota Jordan had one postseason hit when he stepped to the plate in the bottom of the 10th inning Friday night.

No. 2 was a doozy.

Jordan hit a three-run home run into the right field bullpen to give Mississippi State a 5-2 walk-off win over St. John’s in their opening game at the NCAA Tournament’s Charlottesville Regional.

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Jordan had had one hit in his last 26 at-bats going back to the regular-season finale against Missouri, and was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts up to that point in Friday’s game.

Mississippi State (39-21) advanced to a winners’ bracket game Saturday at 5 p.m. against regional host Virginia (42-15), which beat Penn 4-2 earlier Friday.

St. John’s (37-17-1) and Penn (24-24) will play an elimination game at 11 a.m. Both Charlottesville Regional games will be streamed on ESPN+.

Friday’s game largely belonged to the pitchers. St. John’s starter Xavier Kolhosser allowed a two-run home run to Logan Kohler in the second inning, and then not another run. He exited with two outs in the bottom of the ninth having allowed six hits and two walks while striking out seven batters.

Mississippi State’s Khal Stephen had 10 strikeouts in eight innings. He allowed seven hits and no walks, and two runs on a single by Marty Higgins in the fourth inning that tied the score 2-2.
Tyler Davis (6-1) pitched two scoreless innings of relief for the Bulldogs and was credited with the win.

In the bottom of the 10th, Mississippi State’s Aaron Downs reached base on an infield single. Michael O’Brien pinch-ran for Downs and was bunted to second, then went to third on a groundout. David Mershon was intentionally walked to get to the slumping Jordan.

The move looked wise at first. St. John’s reliever Louis Marinaro got ahead in the count 0-2. He missed with two high fastballs, then left one over the plate that Jordan did not miss. He sent it over the right field wall and into Mississippi State’s bullpen to set off a wild victory celebration at home plate.