May 26, 2001
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Matthew Brinson hit two home runs and accounted for all four Mississippi State runs as the Bulldogs (38-22) advanced to the championship game of the NCAA Columbus Regional with a 4-3 win over Delaware (45-14) Saturday afternoon in front of 921 at Bill Davis Stadium on the campus of The Ohio State University. The nail-biter marked the fourth-consecutive one-run contest in the Columbus Regional.
Brinson, a freshman first baseman for MSU, tallied a career-high four RBI and 11 total bases, the most for a Bulldog this season. It was the third time this season a Bulldog player has hit two homeruns in a game.
Mississippi State is undefeated in regional play and advances to meet the winner of the Delaware-Kent State game Sunday at 1:05 p.m. The Blue Hens and Golden Flashes meet at 7:15 p.m. in an elimination contest.
MSU’s Paul Maholm (8-4) threw 135 pitches in 7.2 innings of work, scattered 11 hits, gave up three runs (all earned), walked one and recorded eight strikeouts. Josh Wooten earned his fifth save after working 1.1 innings of scoreless relief. The Bulldog bullpen has collected eight saves in its last 13 contests. Delaware’s Vic Sage (11-3) posted a gutsy eight-inning performance after pitching Friday night vs. Ohio State. In his complete-game effort, he allowed eight hits, four earned runs while walking three and fanning six.
The Blue Hens took the early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when second baseman Andrew Salvo put his seventh homerun of the season over the wall in left-center.
Mississippi State came back in the top of the second. Brinson led off with a solo home run to left field to even the game at one.
With two outs in the bottom of the third, Reid Gorecki singled to right field. Peter Maestrales then reached on a fielder’s choice and moved to second on a throwing error. Chris Kolodzey followed and plated Maestrales with a RBI single, giving Delaware a 2-1 lead going into the fourth.
After two scoreless innings, the Bulldogs picked up three runs in the top of the sixth to go up, 4-2. Brent Lewis led off for MSU with a walk then advanced to second on a Josh West single to center field. West’s single brought Brinson to the plate. Brinson nailed a three-run homerun over the left-field wall on a 3-1 Sage pitch, his second home run of the game.
The Blue Hens pulled to within one in the bottom of the seventh. With no outs, Andrew Salvo smacked a double to left field. He advanced to third on a Reid Gorecki single. Maestrales managed a sacrifice bunt to advance both runners and Salvo then scored on a groundout by Kolodzey and Delaware trailed, 4-3, after seven.
Wooten held on to the lead through 1.1 innings and earned the save for the Bulldogs.
Mississippi State head coach Pat McMahon
“Postseason tournaments are `step up times’ it’s an opportunity for players to enjoy the moment. This was a heck of a college game. Delaware is a great ballclub. Both teams played their hearts out.”
Mississippi State first baseman Matthew Brinson on hitting two homeruns
“They were both 3-1 pitches, he worked me really hard. (Sage) is a great pitcher, he worked his tail off. I didn’t watch the first one but I watched the second one hoping it would stay fair.”
Delaware head coach Jim Sherman
“That was a great performance by two individuals, great pitching. I feel bad for Sage. I hope it is not his last college start. We hope to pull a rabbit out of a hat and win three straight. It all came down to one pitch. Other than that, it was a great college baseball game.”