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Virginia drops heartbreaker to Mississippi State with late breakdown

The Hoos let a 4-0 lead slip away in the 8th inning.

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Mississippi State v Virginia Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

One bad inning and multiple missed opportunities cost Virginia a win on Tuesday night in Omaha as the Cavaliers fell 6-5 to Mississippi State. Virginia led through the first seven innings of the game as starting pitcher Griff McGarry had a no-hitter, but the Bulldogs scored all of their runs in a disastrous span that featured two multi-run home runs.

Virginia left 10 runners on base in the loss, going 5-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

With the loss, Virginia drops into the loser’s bracket where they will have to face Texas on Thursday in an elimination game. That game will start at 7pm ET and will be broadcast by ESPN2.

The Cavaliers got on the board in a hurry after Zack Gelof opened with a single into left field. Max Cotier moved him to second with a sacrifice bunt, and the move paid off immediately after Kyle Teel ripped a hit up the middle to give Virginia a 1-0 lead. Virginia threatened more after Nic Kent drew a walk following a Devin Ortiz pop out, but a deep fly from Tappen ended the inning.

McGarry handed Mississippi State a baserunner in the second with a two-out walk, but the righty responded with his second strikeout of the game to end the inning.

Virginia chased MSU’s starting pitcher Christian MacLeod out of the game in the second inning as the Hoos came up with hit after hit. Jake Gelof drew a walk to start the inning, and Logan Michaels laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move him to second. Back-to-back RBI doubles from Chris Newell and Zack Gelof made it a 3-0 game, and Cotier added a run by bringing home Gelof.

MacLeod left the game after just 1.1 innings of work — of which two outs were sacrifice bunts — and 35 pitches. He gave up five hits, four runs, and walked two.

The Cavaliers threatened again in the fourth and sixth innings, getting runners to third but unable to bring them home.

Mississippi State got it’s first hit of the game in the top of the eighth as Kellum Clark took McGarry deep for a two-run home run that cut Virginia’s lead in half. Zach Messinger came in, ending McGarry’s night at 98 pitches, one hit surrendered, and eight strikeouts in 7.1 innings of work.

Things got worse for Virginia in the eighth as Messinger gave up a single and double before making way for Stephen Schoch. After just one pitch, Tanner Allen smacked a no-doubter to the MSU bullpen, and Virginia’s lead was gone in an instant. Mississippi State added one more on a single, taking a 6-4 lead into the bottom of the inning.

Newell got one back in the bottom half of the eighth with a dinger that scraped over the left field wall, and Cotier followed with a single to bring up Teel. He lined one right to the right fielder on the first pitch, ending the threat and sending the game to the top of the final inning.

The Bulldogs threatened again in the ninth with a handful of baserunners, but Kyle Whitten got out of a bases-loaded jam thanks to a ground out to third.

Ortiz’ tough series continued with a grounder up the middle, and Kent followed with a line out. Tappen struck out to end the game.