STARKVILLE, Miss. (MSU Athletics/WCBI) – It was a super night to be a Diamond Dawg, as the No. 5 Mississippi State baseball program punched its ticket to the NCAA Super Regional round with a 5-2 victory over No. 19 Miami (Fla.) to win the NCAA Starkville Regional on Sunday (June 2) at Dudy Noble Field.
It was the perfect combination of great defense, timely hitting and pitching to contact that helped MSU win its eighth home NCAA Regional in 13 tries. The win also pushed State to its eighth Super Regional, where it will face the winner of Monday’s (June 3, 9 p.m. CT) Fresno State/Stanford game.
The Diamond Dawgs swept an NCAA Regional for the sixth time in program history, joining the 1981, 2001, 2007, 2011 and 2016 teams. It is only the second sweep of regional play at home, as the 2016 edition also swept three games to advance to the Super Regional round.
In all, six Diamond Dawgs earned NCAA Starkville Regional All-Tournament honors, tying for the third-most all-time behind the 1985 and 2011 teams that each garnered seven. Sophomore Rowdey Jordan became the became the sixth MSU baseball student-athlete to earn MVP honors of an NCAA Regional after hitting .538 on the weekend. Junior Dustin Skelton (C), sophomore Tanner Allen (1B), sophomore Justin Foscue (2B), sophomore Josh Hatcher (DH) and redshirt-junior Ethan Small (P) all earned the nod to the all-tournament team, as well.
The Hurricanes (41-20) opened the scoring with a solo home run, before the Bulldogs (49-13) scored three runs in fourth. After Miami (Fla.) pulled within one, 3-2, with a single run in the sixth, State added two insurance runs in the eighth.
The pitching staff followed a similar script as it has all season long, with senior starting pitcher Peyton Plumlee throwing five innings and allowing just two runs on five hits. Redshirt-junior Trysten Barlow entered and threw the sixth inning – allowing an inherited run to score – before Colby White threw a scoreless seventh with two strikeouts.
After senior Jared Liebelt worked out of his own bases loaded jam in the eighth with a double play, graduate student Cole Gordon entered and threw a clean ninth inning with one strikeout to earn the save. Gordon closed the door with his 11th save of the season to move into the No. 7 alone on the single season charts, while his 16 career saves are tied for No. 7 with Bryan Hardwick (1979-80, 82).
Senior Jake Mangum posted a 3-for-4 night at the plate and became the first Diamond Dawg in program history to post multiple 100-hit seasons. With his three hits, Mangum how has 100 hits on the season, adding to his 101 hits from 2018. One of those was a double, giving him 71 for his career and moving him into a tie atop the MSU career charts with Travis Chapman (1997-2000).
Sophomore Jordan Westburg drove in the two RBIs in the eighth inning with a base hit, going 2-for-4 on the day with the two RBIs and one run scored. Allen and Skelton each had one hit and drove in an RBI in the game, as well.
Head Coach Chris Lemonis
On the complete effort from his team
“I thought our starter, Peyton Plumlee, was awesome. Then, all the guys we ran out of the
bullpen did their job. We played great defense and had some clutch hitting. We faced some really good
arms tonight, and I thought they threw some guys with really good stuff. We just had some big hits. It
was nice to get Jake [Mangum] back in the mix. He was a big part of tonight with some big at‐bats. He
was awesome, and overall a fun night at the ballpark.”
Senior Jake Mangum
On going to his fourth Super Regional in four years
“I liked to think I helped, but it took a team effort all four years. Freshman year, we were loaded with big leaguers all over the field. Sophomore year was Brent Rooker’s historical year. Junior year was a crazy ride. This year, it has gone really smoothly all year. It has been a crazy four years, and that is because of the boys in the locker room. It is awesome. We look to keep going and stay alive.”
Senior Peyton Plumlee
On his approach the game
“Looking at Miami’s lineup, it kind of resembled a team like Arkansas who is super aggressive. You knew you had to make good pitches to good hitters when you have a lineup full of [good hitters]. I knew that the best way to be effective for myself was to be able to move the two seam down in the zone and keep it away from them…I knew if I could keep the ball down in the zone and move it to the defense [we’d be fine]. I give a lot of credit to those guys behind. Just seeing a lot of the big swings, taking advantage of their aggressiveness and try to get those guys out in three pitches or less.”
Rowdey Jordan – The NCAA Starkville Regional MVP was 1-for-4 in the game but finished the three-game regional with a .538 average, five RBIs and three runs scored.
All-Tournament Honors – In all, six Diamond Dawgs earned NCAA Starkville Regional All-Tournament honors, with Jordan (LF), Dustin Skelton (C), Tanner Allen (1B), Justin Foscue (2B), Josh Hatcher (DH) and Ethan Small (P) all earning the nod.
Jake Mangum – Went 3-for-4 with two runs scored in the game. Moved his season total to 100 hits, making him the first MSU student-athlete with multiple 100-hit seasons. Also posted his 71st career double to move into a tie with Travis Chapman (1997-2000) atop the career doubles chart.
Peyton Plumlee – Threw five innings and allowed just two runs on five hits to earn the win. Struck out three.
Jordan Westburg – Drove in two RBIs and scored one run on a 2-for-4 night at the plate.
Turning Two – Mississippi State turned a season-high three double plays in the game. In the three games at the regional, MSU turned six double plays.
Cole Gordon – Closed the door with his 11th save of the season. Struck out one in a clean ninth inning. He is now alone at No. 7 on the single season charts, while his 16 career saves are tied for No. 7 with Bryan Hardwick (1979-80, 82).
Slade Cecconi – Threw seven innings and allowed three runs on six hits. Didn’t walk a batter and struck out six.
Raymond Gil – Went 2-for-4 with a home run.
Raymond Gil hit a solo home run with one out to center field off of MSU starting pitcher Peyton Plumlee.
Miami 1, Mississippi State 0
A Jake Mangum infield single was followed by a double from Jordan Westburg to put two runners in scoring position. Tanner Allen followed with an RBI infield single, moving Westburg to third and scoring Mangum. Justin Foscue plated the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly to deep center field. Allen moved to second on a wild pitch, before Dustin Skelton added to the lead with a single up the middle to score Allen.
Mississippi State 3, Miami 1
Miami used a pair of base hits against Plumlee, before a double play cut the MSU lead to one run. Gabe Rivera led off the inning with base hit and moved to third on a Jordan Lala single. After MSU reliever Trysten Barlow walked the first batter he faced to load the bases, Freddy Zamora grounded into a double play, pushing across the Hurricanes’ second run of the game.
Mississippi State 3, Miami 2
The first three batters reached, which produced two more State runs. Marshall Gilbert walked to start the inning before Mangum doubled to right-center field to move the two runners into scoring position. Westburg followed with a base hit to score both runs and push the lead to three runs.
Mississippi State 5, Miami 2
Mississippi State will await the winner of the Stanford Regional, as the host Cardinal will face Fresno State in the winner-take-all game on Monday at 9 p.m. CT. The No. 6 national seed in the tournament, State will host the Super Regional at Dudy Noble Field, with game dates and times, along with ticket information, distributed at a later time.