It was important for Mississippi State to come into this one swinging to snag the momentum early if it was to come out with the win.
Well, the Bulldogs did just that. But so did the Commodores -- except with much more force -- as they put up seven runs to MSU's one run from Kamren James in the first inning on their way to an 8-2 victory.
Until Monday evening, the most runs the Commodores had scored in a game since super regional was seven.
Ten batters saw the plate for Vanderbilt in the first, with two walks and two hit by pitches sending Enrique Bradfield Jr. home. The Commodores expanded their lead to 3-1 with single to left field from C.J. Rodriguez, only getting out farther in front from there with Isaiah Thomas driving in a fourth run with a double inside the third base line.
The Bulldogs didn't allow the Commodores back to the scoreboard until the seventh inning when Carter Young singled to center field, scoring Jayson Gonzalez. But it simply wasn't enough as the Bulldogs couldn't get the bats going enough to take full advantage of the improvement in pitching.
Outside of James' home run hit, MSU's only other score came when Logan Tanner singled down the left field line, sending Tanner Allen home.
Vanderbilt pitcher Jack Leiter did his team proud in what was likely the last pitching appearance of his college career, giving up just two runs on three hits with three walks and eight strikeouts through six innings of work.
The same could not be said about Bulldogs starting pitcher Christian MacLeod, who was chased out of the game after less than inning's worth of work after he allowed sevens runs on three hits, putting MSU in a hole that was too deep to come out of.
MacLeod retired just two batters in his short time on the mound.
To lose a game in this way is certainly a tough blow, but we've seen the Bulldogs perform exceptionally well with their backs against the wall more than once.
If they can do just that again when they face Vanderbilt at 6 p.m. CT on Tuesday, they'll live to fight another day.
If not, the Commodores will bring the title home to Nashville and the Bulldogs will be sent packing after falling just short of the national title.