The Mississippi State Bulldogs are heading to the College World Series Final where they'll face the Vanderbilt Commodores.
Defensive replacement Tanner Leggett lined a walk-off RBI to left, topping the Texas Longhorns, 4-3, by driving in pinch-runner Brayland Skinner after he stole second earlier in Leggett's at-bat.
It's Mississippi State's first appearance in the final since 2013. The Bulldogs will face off against SEC rival Vanderbilt, which took two of three games against State in conference play this season.
Vanderbilt advanced to its second straight CWS Final earlier on Saturday after the NCAA declared a winner-take-all matchup with NC State a no-contest due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the Wolfpack's program.
NCAA Baseball @NCAACWS
NCAA Statement from Division I Baseball Committee:<br><br>The NCAA Division I Baseball Committee has declared the Vanderbilt-NC State Men’s College World Series game scheduled for Saturday, June 26 at 1 p.m. Central time a no-contest because of COVID-19 protocols. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CWS?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CWS</a> <a href="https://t.co/amxdQwkQ6l">pic.twitter.com/amxdQwkQ6l</a>
Now the defending champions will look to lock up their third national title in seven years against a Bulldogs club seeking its first championship in school history in its second-ever CWS Final.
Here's a look at the day's action at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.
Mississippi State def. Texas, 4-3
Leggett's game-winning single ruined what had been a masterful performance by Texas' Cole Quintanilla in relief of starter Tristan Stevens.
Despite Longhorns' third baseman Cam Williams launching a two-run homer in the second inning and center fielder Mike Antico doubling in a third run in the fifth inning, the Bulldogs continued to get runners on base, tagging Stevens for three runs on nine hits and one walk over five innings.
Miss. State's Tanner Allen kicked things off with an RBI single in the first inning while Lane Forsythe and Logan Tanner each added RBI doubles to knot things at three. It was Tanner's double in the sixth inning that ended Stevens' day as Quintanilla took over with runners on second and third with no outs.
Quintanilla's first batter faced drew a walk to load the bases, but Texas' reliever quickly got out of it with a groundball force-out at home followed by two strikeouts.
Texas Baseball @TexasBaseball
KILLER Q. ICE COLE. ❄️ <br><br>Bases loaded, nobody out and <a href="https://twitter.com/ColeQuintanilla?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ColeQuintanilla</a> gets a force and back-to-back Ks to escape the jam!<br><br>Filth. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HookEm?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HookEm</a> <a href="https://t.co/BMF3E0yFoG">pic.twitter.com/BMF3E0yFoG</a>
Mississippi State's bullpen was equally up to the task as Landon Sims earned the win, tossing 2.2 innings with four strikeouts in relief of Will Bednar, who went 6.1 innings with seven strikeouts, four hits, three earned runs and two walks.
Despite Quintanilla striking out Brad Cumbest to begin the bottom of the ninth, he couldn't avoid hitting the foot of Kellum Clark on a 1-2 count, putting the winning run on first. That led to Skinner taking over on the basepaths, where he quickly stole second before Leggett caught a slider and dropped it into left field.
The Bulldogs poured out of their dugout and rushed to home plate as Skinner rounded third, giving the pinch runner a mob to jump into as he scored the winning run.
The best-of-three College World Series Finals begins Monday, June 28 at 6 p.m. ET from TD Ameritrade Park live on ESPN2. Game 2 is slated for Tuesday, June 29 with Game 3—if necessary—on Wednesday, June 30. All games begin at 6 p.m. ET and will be shown live on ESPN2.