Heartbreaker: Mississippi State rallies for six in eight, stuns UVA
Griff McGarry took a no-hitter into the eighth, but Mississippi State would rally for six runs in that frame, then hold on for a 6-5 win over Virginia, in a gut punch of a loss for the ‘Hoos at the 2021 College World Series Tuesday night.
McGarry was masterful into the eighth, striking out eight, walking one, but second baseman Scotty Dubrule walked on a tight 3-2 pitch that home plate umpire Ramon Armandariz called low to lead off the eighth.
McGarry then got Brayland Skinner to pop up to left for the first out of the inning.
DH Kellum Clark hit a first-pitch fastball from McGarry into the Mississippi State bullpen in right, to cut what had been a 4-0 UVA lead in half, at 4-2.
UVA coach Brian O’Connor lifted McGarry, who would be charged with two runs on the lone hit in seven and a third, on 98 pitches, 64 of them strikes, at this stage, in favor of Zach Messinger, who unfortunately would not record an out.
Josh Hatcher reached on an infield single, on a ball that forced shortstop Nic Kent to range into the hole to his left, and Kent wasn’t able to get a lot on the throw to first because of it.
The next hitter, Rowdey Jordan, laced a double to left-center that should have plated Hatcher, but he stopped at third, and for a moment Jordan was dead to rights, more than halfway to third himself, but he was able to get back to second because both Kent and second baseman Max Cotier had set up as cutoff men, and thus there was no one at second to take the throw.
O’Connor came back out to get Messinger, replacing him with closer Stephen Schoch, who didn’t have it on this night.
The first hitter that Schoch faced, rightfielder Tanner Allen, was sitting on the slider, and Schoch left his 1-0 offering up and over the plate, and Allen deposited the pitch into the aforementioned MSU bullpen for a three-run shot that put the Bulldogs up 5-4.
An insurance RBI single from Dubrule would make it 6-4 before the half-inning would come to a conclusion.
Virginia got a run back in the bottom half on a fly ball to left off the bat of Chris Newell that carried into the UVA bullpen.
The ‘Hoos would get Cotier on with two outs on a single to center, but closer Brandon Sims induced a first-pitch flyout from Kyle Teel to end that threat.
Nate Savino and Kyle Whitten white-knuckled their way through a scoreless ninth, and then Sims, whose fastball tops out at 89, eased his way through the heart of the Virginia order – Devin Ortiz, Kent and Alex Tappen – 1-2-3, with Tappen striking out swinging on a 1-2 fastball at 89 up and in to end it.
The 4-0 lead that UVA had forged came early, off Mississippi State starter Christian MacLeod, who had nothing, getting just four outs among the 11 batters that he faced in an inning and a third.
MSU coach Chris Lemonis used seven relievers to get through the final seven and two-thirds, and the pen was the reason it was even a game going into the fateful eighth.
All told, the Bulldog relievers gave up one run, the Newell solo homer in the eighth, on seven hits, striking out six and walking two.
The story here was McGarry, even in the UVA defeat. Kid has given up three hits in 14 and a third innings in his last two starts, the 4-0 win over Dallas Baptist in Game 2 of the Super Regional, and then tonight, striking out 18, walking four.
The last no-no in a College World Series game was way back in 1960.
He gets what should have been a called strike three leading off the eighth, who knows.
Alas, it wasn’t to be.
Virginia (36-26) faces Texas (48-16) in an elimination game on Thursday at 7 p.m.
UVA has, to this point, won all six of its elimination games in the 2021 NCAA Tournament.
Gonna need to win three more to get to the CWS finals.
Story by Chris Graham