Mississippi State was in need of a bounce-back win after the No. 5 Bulldogs had fallen to Tulane on Friday. MSU sure made it dramatic, but State got the job done on Saturday.
The Bulldogs scored six times in the ninth inning to beat Tulane 9-5. Logan Tanner's game-tying two-run single and Luke Hancock's walk-off grand slam set off a Starkville celebration.
So what all do you need to know about Saturday's victory? Let's take a look at some statistics, Cowbell Corner game MVPs and more.
Tulane at Mississippi State boxscore
Offensive MVP: DH Luke Hancock
Luke Hancock got just one hit on Saturday and one-hit days don't come any bigger than his. Hancock's walk-off grand slam clinched the game for the Bulldogs and he's the choice for Cowbell Corner's offensive Most Valuable Player of the day.
You could certainly make a case for a few other guys. Tanner Allen had a couple of hits including a first-inning two-run homer that gave State an early lead. Scotty Dubrule had a pair of hits, including one that helped lay the foundation for MSU's huge ninth. Logan Tanner tied up the game with his two-run single in the final frame (more on that in a minute). But if you end the game with a walk-off grand slam like Hancock, that's almost impossible to top.
For more on Hancock and what he called maybe the best moment of his life – along with full video of his postgame press conference – CLICK HERE.
Pitching MVP: RP Landon Sims
Landon Sims has just been out of this world so far in 2021. That continued on Saturday.
Sims entered in relief with one out in the third inning. He then picked right up doing what he does best – mowing through lineups.
Sims faced 16 batters. He struck out 10 of them. Overall this season, Sims has now struck out 20 of the 28 hitters he's faced.
Yes, Sims did have a moment where he looked mortal on Saturday. Tulane got to Sims for a sixth-inning run. But it doesn't change the fact that on a staff full of talented arms, a convincing case can be made no one is stronger on the mound than Sims.
For more on Sims, see his full postgame press conference with the video at the top of this page.
Moment of the Game: Logan Tanner ties it up
Even in a game that ended with a walk-off grand slam, catcher Logan Tanner's ninth-inning, game-tying hit was likely the biggest blow. Even the hero, Hancock, said so in his postgame thoughts.
Mississippi State was down 5-3 when Tanner stepped up to the plate in the ninth with the bases full and nobody out. In a similar situation two innings prior, Tanner hadn't come through. With runners at first and second and no one out in the seventh, Tanner hit into a double play. Such a thing here would have nearly killed all hope at a State comeback win. This time though, Tanner delivered.
He ripped a ball towards the gap in left-centerfield that chased home two runs and tied the contest at 5-5. Tanner's hit moved the winning run to third base with nobody out. Now nothing is a certainty in baseball, but Tanner put Saturday's win on a silver platter for Hancock and Hancock, quite literally, knocked it out of the park.
Hancock got the memorable moment. But Tanner made it all possible. For more from Tanner, here's his full postgame press conference:
Other items of note
- Sunday's series finale between MSU and Tulane is now set for a noon central time first pitch. The game was originally scheduled for 1 p.m., but the call was made to bump the game up an hour in hopes of having a better chance to get it in with rain on the way to the Starkville area.
- Freshman right-handed pitcher Jackson Fristoe is slated to start on the mound for MSU on Sunday. Fristoe will be making his second career start after he hurled three shutout innings against Texas Tech last Monday.
- Of course Fristoe is taking the weekend rotation spot of Will Bednar who hasn't yet made his season debut. Bednar has missed his first two starts to open the year due to what MSU head coach Chris Lemonis has called neck soreness. Lemonis said Saturday he doesn't think Bednar's issue is anything serious or longterm and that Bednar is considered day-to-day.