Texas survives rain delay, Mississippi St. to play for College World Series finals spot

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The Mississippi State dugout watches as Texas’s Ivan Melendez rounds the bases after hitting a three-run home run during the ninth inning of a baseball game in the College World Series Friday, June 25, 2021, at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb. (Chris Machian/Omaha World-Herald via AP)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas is now one win away from reaching the championship series after beating Mississippi State 8-5 in a game that started Friday night and ended early Saturday morning thanks to a two-and-a-half hour weather delay.

Safe to say, Texas exorcised its offensive demons from its first CWS meeting with the Bulldogs. The Longhorns scored eight runs on eight hits in the elimination game.

Texas and Mississippi State will play Saturday at 6 p.m. for a spot in the finals, where 2019 national champion Vanderbilt will be awaiting the winner.

No hit was more crucial than Ivan Melendez’s, who hit a three-run home run in the top of the 9th to give Texas the 8-5 lead.

One batter later, the rain moved in and put the game on hold until 1:05 a.m.

Melendez’s heroics came right after the Longhorns blew a three-run lead in the eighth inning. With a 5-2 lead, Tanner Witt, who came on in relief of Ty Madden, walked in a run and left with the bases full of Bulldogs. Aaron Nixon, in his second appearance in as many days, gave up a single, but limited the damage to keep the game tied. The runs were charged to Witt.

This was the second straight game Melendez delivered the go-ahead hit for UT. Against Virginia, his RBI single in the eighth put the Longhorns over the top against the Cavaliers.

Zach Zubia gave Texas a jolt in the first inning with a solo home run to put the Horns on the board.

Mississippi State responded quickly, taking a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first courtesy of RBI singles from Kamren James and Logan Tanner.

The Bulldogs weren’t the only ones who would respond quickly, though. Texas tied the game at 2-2 in the top of the 2nd thanks to a Trey Faltine sacrifice fly that allowed Mitchell Daly to score.

Mike Antico, a graduate transfer, provided two crucial RBI’s in the fifth and the seventh inning.

Vanderbilt advanced to the finals after its Saturday elimination game against NC State was declared a no-contest by the NCAA due to COVID-19 protocols. NC State’s season ultimately came to an end early Saturday morning, while Vandy got a pass into the finals for a chance to defend their 2019 national championship.

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