OMAHA, Neb. — Marshall Gilbert turned a mostly forgettable night at the plate into a memorable one.
The No. 9 batter hit a bases-loaded single up the middle that capped a four-run ninth inning and gave Mississippi State a 5-4 walk-off victory over Auburn in the College World Series on Sunday.
Gilbert had been 0 for 4 before he came to bat, following six teammates who had kept the line moving.
“First of all, I was in awe by everybody that was able to get the job done before me,” Gilbert said. “It was incredible, the fact we could get to that point to where I was coming up to the plate, and all the at-bats prior to that I had kind of been a little off, missed some pitches. I kept getting encouragement from my teammates saying, ‘Keep going, keep going, don’t quit.’
Gilbert ripped a shot past pitcher Tanner Burns and just out of reach of second baseman Ryan Bliss. Dustin Skelton came home from third and the Mississippi State dugout emptied, with players running into right field to mob Gilbert after the Bulldogs’ third walk-off win of the season.
“The bond we have is something that is hard to break,” Gilbert said. “So believing in one another, going out there leaving it out there on your team, it pays off in the end. And we work every pitch to the last. You’re never out of a ballgame and we all know that, so when we all believe in each other, good things happen.”
The No. 6 national seed Bulldogs (52-13) threatened time and again before finally breaking through for their sixth straight win in the NCAA Tournament. Auburn (38-27), making its first CWS appearance since 1997, was within an out of wrapping up the win. But third baseman Edouard Julien’s wild throw to first on Dustin Skelton’s grounder allowed Elijah MacNamee to score the tying run.