06/16 22:58 CDT Gilbert gets bases-loaded hit, Bulldogs beat Auburn 5-4
Gilbert gets bases-loaded hit, Bulldogs beat Auburn 5-4
By ERIC OLSON
AP Sports Writer
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) --- Marshall Gilbert hit a bases-loaded single up the middle
that capped a four-run ninth inning and gave Mississippi State a 5-4 walk-off
victory over Auburn in the College World Series on Sunday night.
The No. 6 national seed Bulldogs (52-13) threatened time and again before
finally breaking through in the ninth for their sixth straight win in the NCAA
Tournament. Auburn (38-27), making its first CWS appearance since 1997, was
within an out of wrapping up the win. But third baseman Edouard Julien's wild
throw to first on Dustin Skelton's grounder allowed Elijah MacNamee to score
the tying run.
Tanner Burns (4-4) intentionally walked Rowdey Jordan and Josh Hatcher beat
Julien's throw to first on a soft grounder to load the bases for Gilbert, who
had been hitless in four at-bats before coming to the plate.
Gilbert ripped a shot second baseman Ryan Bliss couldn't get to, Skelton came
home from third and the Mississippi State dugout emptied, with players running
into right field to mob Gilbert after the Bulldogs' third walk-off win of the
Cole Gordon (5-0) pitched one inning for the win.
Before the ninth, it had otherwise been a mostly frustrating night for the
Bulldogs, who stranded 11 runners and had bases loaded in the fifth and sixth
innings but came away with only one run.
Julien, who put his hands to his face after his off-target throw to first let
in the tying run, had stood to be the Tigers' hero. He homered and drove in
three runs against SEC pitcher of the year Ethan Small.
Small opened with five straight strikeouts before Rankin Woley singled and
Julien drove a fastball 418 feet into the top row of the bleachers in
right-center for a 2-0 lead. After Small issued three walks in the fourth,
Julien singled in another run to make it 3-0.
Small, the Milwaukee Brewers' first-round draft pick two weeks ago, left after
facing two batters in the sixth. He struck out eight to run his nation-leading
season total to 176 in 107 innings, and the three earned runs he allowed
matched his season high.
Auburn left-handed starter Jack Owen worked five shutout innings and left with
no outs and two runners on base in the sixth. The Bulldogs finally broke
through when Gunner Halter singled off reliever Elliott Anderson to cut it to
Auburn turned to closer Cody Greenhill, who struck out Marshall Gilbert to end
the sixth but was pulled after the Bulldogs' first two batters reached in the
Richard Fitts came on and induced a double-play ball and got Dustin Skelton to
ground to second baseman Ryan Bliss, who was playing right behind the bag on a
shift and threw him out at first.
Bliss made another big play during Fitts' 1-2-3 eighth inning, but Jake Mangum
doubled leading off the bottom of the ninth, and coach Butch Thompson brought
in Burns to relieve for the first time in 33 career appearances.
Mississippi State plays a Bracket 2 winners' game Tuesday night against
Vanderbilt, which beat Louisville 3-1.
Auburn meets Louisville in an elimination game Tuesday afternoon.