College World Series 2021 – Mississippi State ends a 126-year title drought

Wednesday night Mississippi State University ended a 126-year title drought with a 5-3 win over Omaha in the College World Series. It was the first win in the World Series for the Bulldogs since 1902 when they were known as the Mississipi State College.

When you hear the phrase “College World Series”, what comes to mind? For many people, it’s a time of celebration. For others, it’s painful. And for many, it’s one of the most important times of the year.  Pick the right team, and you’re set. No matter if you’re a college fan or not, every baseball fan wants to know how the World Series ends.  On November 8, the next College World Series will begin. In 1921, the College World Series was first played, and it was then that the Mississippi State Bulldogs were crowned champions. But, 126 years later, will the school’s streak of title wins continue to end?

Neb. — … you got a no-hitter in the eighth. A lost cause. Nobody cared.

The Mississippi State Bulldogs have been playing team sports for 126 years and have never won a national championship. But they were five outs away from winning the College World Series.

About 1 percent of Mississippi State traveled to Omaha to help the Bulldogs win, or at least chase away the ghosts. There was Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, dressed in a white polo shirt and MSU cap, screaming like a college student seven years after the fall when he led the MSU football team to weeks of first place. Rafael Palmeiro, a four-time MLB All-Star and member of one of the best teams in college baseball who has never won a national championship, was there to record the moment with his cell phone.

Palmeiro has recently sidelined several players and said: If you win, you become gods.

The @dak living legends stopped by to celebrate pic.twitter.com/6yvqBqkULA

– Mississippi State Baseball (@HailStateBB) July 1, 2021

The Bulldogs finally broke through Wednesday night with a 9-0 win over Vanderbilt and won their first national title in school history.

Their chances of making history seemed slim two days earlier when Mississippi State lost 8-2 to the defending national champion in the first game of the best-of-three championship series. But the Bulldogs came back and won the next two games by a combined score of 22-2.

You lose the first game of the series, coach Chris Lemonis said, and you sit here knowing how much our community, our school, our program wants this trophy.

When you do something legendary for the first time, it must have been difficult.

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The game would be a pitcher’s duel between Bednar and Vanderbilt flame thrower Kumar Roker, who is considered the first pick in the MLB draft. But Roker never got into a rut and was taken out of the game in the fifth inning after throwing 92 pitches and scoring five runs.

No one knew what Bednar was up to, or even if he would pitch. He worked three days off and started unsuccessfully, walking three of the first five batters. But the sophomore right-hander, who threw 15 hits in a row in his CWS debut last week, has now settled down and pitched 15 straight.

After five innings, he was about to be taken out of the game, but he insisted that he felt fine. After Game 6, Bednar threw 90 pitches and thought he could throw longer. But the Bulldogs’ offense took the problem out of its hands, with Logan Tanner and Kellum Clark hitting home runs to give Mississippi State a nine-point lead.

Sims, who entered Wednesday night’s game with two saves and the CWS victory, knocked the Commodores out of the game with two strikeouts. After getting a catch in the eighth, he made it 3-2 and threw a ball under his knee. But Young caught it and kicked the ball to midfield.

Honestly, the last thing I was worried about was taking a hit here, Sims said. I just wanted to come in and throw strikes. When they strike, they strike.

Bednar is a close friend of Sims, and when the meeting ended Wednesday night, he joked that he would probably talk to him tomorrow about the incident that never happened. (There has never been a combined no-hitter in the CWS). But when the ball hit the net, Bednar encouraged Sims and shouted encouraging words to him from the locker room.

I don’t care about that at all now, Bednar said. I’m over the moon.

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After six scoreless innings in Mississippi State’s 9-0 victory over Vanderbilt to win the College World Series, Will Bednar smiles.

Several dozen fans dressed in burgundy entered the field and the players ran in a circle around the stadium to cheer on their fans. The Bulldogs knew what this championship meant to a lot of people. In Drew, Mississippi, it’s a reprieve for farmers, including Stafford Sherden, who replanted their crops this week after devastating floods.

Although he lives closer to Oxford, he considers himself more of a Mississippi State fan than an Ole Miss fan. And after MSU made it to the CWS championship game in 2013, losing only to UCLA, Sherden promised himself he would come to Omaha one day to watch them play. Mother Nature had other plans, he said. Shurden hoped to get off his tractor in the early afternoon to watch the game.

We are underdogs in every sense of the word, he said. Look at our team. They’re just a bunch of ragheads, and you gotta love that. They’re just having fun.

The Bulldogs were playing for anyone who couldn’t be in Omaha. Mr. Lemonis lost his mother last fall, and his father could not attend because he is ill and in the hospital. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, as the crowd roared and decades of futile effort faded away, Lemonis finally found the answer.

I turned to [Kyle Cheesebrough], one of my coaches, who was sitting next to me, Lemonis said. We both lost our parents last year and I turned to him and said: Man, I hope they have a good seat tonight.

They played for all the old-timers who couldn’t get here. Late Wednesday night, Lemonis was reminded of how they left the CWS two years ago, when veteran Jake Mangum collapsed in his post-game interview with reporters and was upset that he left the program without a title.

You’re going to get this baseball program its first national championship, Lemonis said to Mangum, who now plays in the Mets’ farm system. You. And it’s gonna be great. I can’t wait to see it.

They played for the fans who have waited their whole lives for this party.

I’m on top of the world, said midfielder Tanner Allen. I couldn’t be happier for the team, the city, the fans, the whole state of Mississippi. Outside Oxford, of course.

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