STARKVILLE – Omaha. Somewhere in middle America…
Senior Peyton Plumlee gave the No. 5 Mississippi State baseball program all it could ask for in his start on the mound and senior Elijah MacNamee sent the 11,597 fans at Dudy Noble Field into a frenzy with his ninth-inning, three-run home run in an 8-1 victory over No. 3 Stanford that earned the program its 11th trip to the College World Series.
It was the 27th comeback win of the year and fourth in the NCAA postseason for MSU, as Stanford struck with the first run of the game. State answered back with four runs in the third and one in the fourth, before the three-run ninth inning capped the 8-1 victory.
Clinching its 11th trip to the College World Series on June 9 marks the third time in program history the Diamond Dawgs dogpiled on its way to Omaha on the date. Ironically enough, it did so first in 2007, then six years later in. 2013 and now six years later in 2019.
With its 51st win of the season, the 2019 edition is tied for No. 2 on the MSU single-season charts with the 2013 squad. Only the 1989 team that won 54 games has won more in program history.
Plumlee (7-4) allowed a leadoff home run to Kyle Stowers, before settling in and not allowing another hit until a two-out, seventh-inning single. In all, Plumlee tossed 6 2/3 innings and allowed the one run on a pair of hits. He walked one and struck out six.
Senior Jared Liebelt tossed 1 1/3 innings scoreless, before handing off to graduate student Cole Cordon threw a perfect ninth inning to seal the journey to Omaha. Both Gordon and Liebelt each struck out two.
The Diamond Dawg pitching staff allowed just one run to mark the 27th time in 2019 that it allowed two-or-fewer runs in a game.
Eight of the nine MSU starters collected a hit in the game, with senior Marshall Gilbert, senior Jake Mangum and junior Dustin Skelton all collecting two hits. Skelton tripled and drove in three RBIs, while Gilbert had a pair of singles and scored twice. MacNamee walked twice, scored two runs and delivered three RBIs on his seventh home run of the season.
Head Coach Chris Lemonis
On his thoughts about the night
“An unbelievable night, I keep thinking that we have had our best night in our ballpark. It just keeps getting louder and louder. Our fans are unbelievable. Then, our ball club. It was a typical Mississippi State game, we just grinded it out. Some great plays by these guys up here [Jake Mangum, Peyton Plumlee and Dustin Skelton]. I thought we got a great start by Peyton [Plumlee]. After the first batter of the game, we were really good and had to get that out of your system. I think we had that two weeks in a row where he just pitched phenomenally. It is so fun to watch him come off the mound and for our fans support him all day long. Then, the ninth inning was pretty special to see our guys get congratulated as they finished up playing at The Dude.”
Senior Peyton Plumlee
On walking off the mound for the last time at Dudy Noble Field
“I looked around to take everything in – Coach Lemonis said ‘Take it slow.’ I knew that would be my last time stepping off the mound and my last game ever at Duty Noble Field. Looking down at my hat, I did not say anything. I was trying to keep myself from crying. That’s how it is, you fall in love with this team. You fall in love with the University. You fall in love with all the fans and the amount of support they bring to us. You cannot do anything else but compete your butt off – try to win in front of them and dog pile in front of all of them. To have the season that we have had, it is really special.”
Senior Jake Mangum
On his last hit at Dudy Noble Field
“If you think I can put that into words, you are crazy. You cannot write it any better. My first ever hit at Dudy Noble was the same as my last – 6 hole, of course. It was the first pitch, too.”
OmaDawgs – Mississippi State will make its 11th trip to the College World Series, sitting tied for the 13th most in NCAA history with North Carolina and South Carolina.
Plum Good – A home run started the night and a single ended it for Peyton Plumlee and in between, Stanford couldn’t do much against the senior right hander. He threw 6 2/3 innings, struck out six and walked one in the one-run effort.
Dustin Skelton – Broke a 1-1 tie with a three-run triple to right-center field. Added a walk and a single.
Elijah MacNamee – Lone hit of the night was a ninth-inning, three-run home run. Added two walks and scored twice.
Seniors Slam Door Shut – Jared Liebelt and Cole Gordon worked the final 2 1/3 innings scoreless. Liebelt allowed two hits and struck out two in 1 1/3 innings, while Gordon fanned two in a perfect ninth inning.
Kyle Sowers – Hit a leadoff home run to start the game for Stanford.