OMAHA, Neb. – Mississippi State took the lead on Wes Rea’s two-run double in the eighth inning, closer Jonathan Holder turned back two Oregon State threats, and the Bulldogs beat the Beavers 5-4 on Saturday in the opening game of the College World Series.
The Bulldogs (49-18) advanced to a Monday game against Indiana or Louisville. The Beavers (50-12), the No. 3 national seed, are one loss from elimination.
Hunter Renfroe’s hard comebacker off the leg of Matt Boyd (10-4) put runners on first and second in the eighth. Rea then sent a double into the right-center gap. Andy Detz scored easily and Renfroe beat second baseman Andy Peterson’s relay throw home.
Holder got out of a jam after Oregon State put two runners on base in the eighth, getting a flyout and striking out pinch hitter Joey Jansen.
The Beavers had two runners on base again in the ninth when Danny Hayes drove a ball to right that Renfroe caught on the warning track to end the game and give Holder his 19th save. Hayes threw his helmet to the ground as Renfroe gloved the ball, and the Bulldogs came pouring out of the dugout in celebration.
Ross Mitchell (13-0) pitched 2 2-3 shutout innings before turning the game over to Holder.
Oregon State starter Andrew Moore turned in a strong performance after giving up three runs in the second inning.
Moore, the Pac-12 freshman of the year, came into the game off wins in seven straight games and had worked eight or more innings in five of his previous six starters.
He Moore missed up with his fastball early but settled down to retire 18 of 20 batters before Detz singled with one out in the eighth.
Pac-12 player of the year Michael Conforto played a spectacular game, matching his career high with four hits and reaching base all five times he went to the plate. He doubled twice, threw out Sam Frost at the plate from left field to end the second inning and made a sprinting catch on Rea’s short fly to start the fourth.
Kendall Graveman came in as the only Mississippi State starter to pitch out of the fourth inning in 10 postseason games. He left after Davis’ RBI groundout gave the Beavers a 4-3 lead in the fifth.
Mississippi State overcame an early base-running mistake and Frost’s throwing error at third that led to two Oregon State runs in the first.
The Bulldogs scored three times in the second. After Frost’s bases-loaded single brought in the first run, DeMarcus Henderson lined the ball into right. Rea scored on the hit, and C.T. Bradford came home when Dylan Davis hesitated throwing the ball in.
Mississippi State and Oregon State are both in the CWS for the first time since 2007, the year the Beavers won the second of two straight national titles.