Ah yes…baseball. Moment #5 was the announcement of the new Dudy Noble Field. Today, I bring you Top Moment #4 of 2014: the largest crowd for any on-campus baseball game watching a dramatic comeback in the 10th inning to beat arch-rival Ole Miss. Now I know that at least a NCAA baseball on campus attendance record 15,586 people saw this happen in person. That’s not taking into account the thousands of people who watched the game at home. This was, as Josh put it, “The Best Regular Season College Baseball Game Ever,” and it’s hard to dispute that claim.
The Bulldogs started out strong getting two runs, we pulled Trevor Fitts in favor of Jacob Lindgren. Lindgren gave up two runs and we put in Johnathan Holder. Holder did a fairly nice job, but was saved many times by his teammates. In the 10th inning, the floodgates opened and Sikes Orvis hit a 2-run dinger into Right-Center Field to give the Rebels a 4-2 lead. They tacked on one more before Butch Thompson pulled Holder in favor of Vance “Midnight” Tatum to get the final out.
Here is a video of Derrick Armstrong’s game-saving throw in the 9th inning:
Then the improbable happened. With all hope seemingly lost within the Bulldog faithful, the greatest comeback in regular season history for this Mississippi State baseball squad happened. It all started off bleak as C.T. Bradford flied out to Center. Then Cody Brown doubled off the wall in Center, followed by a double down the Left-field line by Seth Heck that scored Brown. The score went to 5-3. Alex Detz hit a grounder to the left of the second baseman, and he threw the ball in the dirt and Detz reached. We had runners on the corner and 1 out. Brett Pirtle then proceeded to hit a sac fly into left-center to score Heck. The score was 5-4 Ole Miss, the crowd was getting anxious, and Wes Rea was up to bat. Rea hit a hard ball to Right field and it was misplayed by the right-fielder, he ran himself all the way to second base scoring Alex Detz to tie the game at 5. We subbed Matthew Britton in for Wes Rea at second base, if there were any time for a game to have a dramatic hero, this was the time.
Right before Gavin Collins was to get up to the plate, Ole Miss decided that a pitching change was in order. They put in their second closer as they tried to close this game out while they could. Gavin went up to the plate, watched the first two pitches go by for balls. 2-0 count came, and Gavin watched the next pitch blow by for a strike. 2-1 count, runner on second, the whole crowd waiting to explode. The pitch was delivered, and Gavin Collins nails it right between the shortstop and third baseman. The right-fielder was playing shallow and grabbed the grounder, loaded up, and threw towards the plate. One problem: the throw was way to the left of the catcher, taking him out of the lane. Britton galloped into home, the crowd went wild, and on Gavin Collins’s birthday, he became the hero of Super Bulldog Weekend.
The Bulldogs ended up giving the record crowd one of the best showings that it has ever seen at Dudy Noble Field. The Bulldogs proceeded to celebrate well into the night, cowbells clanging along as the sun dipped below the Western sky. The Bulldogs had defeated their arch-rivals at the brink of death, and all of this in front of the newest holder of the NCAA Baseball on campus attendance record. This gave Mississippi State all of the Top-10 on campus attendance numbers in history and broke a record that had stood since 1989.