Mississippi State shortstop Luke Alexander drove in Hunter Stovall with one out in the bottom of the ninth Saturday to score the game’s first and only run as the Bulldogs beat Washington 1-0 to cap the first day of the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.
With runners on first and second and the Huskies outfield playing very shallow, the right-handed hitting Alexander lofted an 0-2 pitch from Alex Hardy over right fielder Kaiser Weiss’ head to deliver the first walk-off win at the College World Series since 2015, according to ESPN.
The Bulldogs (38-27) had 10 hits in the game, Alexander and Stovall leading the way with three each. Starting pitcher Ethan Small went seven innings for Mississippi State, giving up only four hits and striking out five without walking a batter. Joe DeMers was just about as good for the Huskies (35-25), giving up seven hits and striking out two with one walk in 7 1/3 innings.
Hardy replaced DeMers after Bulldogs center fielder Jake Mangum hit a one-out double. Hardy (5-3) induced a pair of groundouts to end the inning with no damage done. But the same could not be said for the ninth.
Stovall singled to lead off the inning, and right fielder Elijah MacNamee followed with another single. Third baseman Justin Foscue failed to execute a sacrifice bunt, however, instead popping out Washington catcher Nick Kahle for the first out and failing to advance the runners.
Alexander rendered the miscue moot, however, with his third walk-off hit of the season.
Zach Neff (4-3) got the win after getting AJ Graffanino to ground into a fielder’s choice with two on to end the top of the ninth and set up Alexander’s heroics.
North Carolina 8, Oregon State 6
Luke Heimlich lasted just 2 1/3 innings in his worst start of the season as the Beavers fell to the Tar Heels in the opening game of the College World Series — the longest nine-inning game in CWS history.
Heimlich, who fell to 16-2 with the loss, gave up six runs on four hits, a walk and three hit batsmen and left with the Beavers trailing 6-1.
Oregon State (49-11-1) actually got on the board first, with Trevor Larnach driving in a run with an RBI triple in the first inning. Heimlich escaped a jam in the top of the inning after an error by shortstop Cadyn Grenier and a hit batsman put the first two runners on.
Zack Gahagan tied it up when he scored on designated hitter Ben Casparius’ ground out to third in the second inning, before the Tar Heels (44-18) broke it open in the third.
Heimlich opened the inning by hitting Michael Busch a second time, then gave up two singles around a sacrifice fly that scored Busch. A passed ball by catcher Adley Rutschman allowed Tar Heels right fielder Cody Roberts to score before Heimlich gave up another single and hit another batter to load the bases and end his day.
Lefty Brandon Eisert took over and gave up a sacrifice fly to left fielder Ashton McGee and a two-run single to Casparius and another single to Kyle Datres before Busch lined out in his second at-bat of the frame to end the inning with North Carolina up 6-1.
The game lasted 4 hours, 24 minutes to break the CWS nine-inning record by three minutes — a 21-13 Miami victory over Tennessee in 2001.
—Field Level Media