Mississippi State sent to losers’ bracket with walk-off loss vs. Virginia

Published 8:50 pm Saturday, June 1, 2024

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — A bad bounce sent Mississippi State tumbling into the losers’ bracket of the NCAA Tournament’s Charlottesville Regional.

Harrison Didawick scored the winning run when a bouncing grounder kicked off the chest of second baseman Amani Larry, and the Cavaliers earned a 5-4 walk-off win in Saturday’s winners’ bracket game.

Mississippi State (39-22) will play St. John’s (38-17-1) in an elimination game Sunday at 11 a.m, with the winner advancing to face Virginia (43-15) at 5 p.m. Both games will be streamed on ESPN+.

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St. John’s beat Penn 10-9 in 12 innings in an elimination game earlier Saturday.

Mississippi State or St. John’s will need to beat Virginia twice — Sunday night, and again on Monday — to advance to the super regional round next weekend.

Mississippi State had two chances to get out of a jam in the bottom of the ninth and send the game to extra innings. With runners on first and second, Eric Becker hit a slow bouncer to Larry. He threw to second and and got the lead runner, but the Bulldogs could not turn the double play.

Bobby Whalen then hit another bouncer up the middle on the next pitch. Larry was in position to make the play right at the second base bag and turn an inning-ending double play. Instead, it took a short bounce in front of him, caromed off his chest to the right, and Didawick scored the winning run.

It was the second consecutive game for Mississippi State that was decided on a walk-off play. Dakota Jordan’s three-run home run in the 10th inning gave the Bulldogs a 5-2 win over St. John’s in the regional opener on Friday.

This time, the late-inning magic worked against the Bulldogs. They left runners at second and third in the top of the ninth and a runner at third base in the eighth.

Hunter Hines hit a three-run home run in the third inning to give Mississippi State a 3-2 lead, and in the fourth Bryce Chance singled and eventually scored on an error.

Virginia tied it in the seventh inning on Becker’s two-run single. Becker also tripled in two runs in the third and finished 2-for-4 with four RBIs. Didawick and Jacob Ference each had two hits and scored two runs.

Jordan, Chance and David Mershon each had two hits and scored a run for Mississippi State.