STARKVILLE – True freshman Ryan Gridley had just one hit Saturday afternoon at Dudy Noble Field in Game Four of the Mississippi State baseball Bulldog World Series. It was the only hit he needed.
Tied at five in the bottom of the eighth, the Milton, Ga., native belted a walk-off single to left to lift Gray to a dramatic 6-5 victory against Maroon. The originally-scheduled seven-inning exhibition went eight innings, with international tiebreaker rules being used in the last stanza. Gridley’s heroics gave Gray a 3-1 series win in the best-of-five series.
Maroon started off extra innings with redshirt sophomore outfielder Cody Brown on second base. Senior infielder Seth Heck roped a double to the gap in left and Brown sprinted around third for the possible go-ahead run. Gray center fielder Jacob Robson gunned it to the cutoff man, who fired home as catcher Josh Lovelady tagged Brown out. Heck advanced to third on the play, and was stranded 90 feet away from home as Gray sophomore southpaw Vance Tatum struck out two to get out of the jam.
Gray started off the bottom half of the eighth with junior infielder Matt Spruill on second base. Following a groundout for out number one, Gridley pulled a 1-2 pitch to left for the walk-off single.
Three other Bulldogs besides Gridley drove in runs. Lovelady hit a two-run home run, redshirt freshman Dylan Ingram had a bases-loaded walk and sophomore newcomer Luke Reynolds went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run. Heck (2-for-3, run) and sophomore outfielder Reid Humphreys (2-for-3, RBI) were the only Maroon hitters with multiple hits.
Tatum was the star on the mound in Game Four, picking up the win in three shutout innings of relief. The lefty struck out four and walked none, surrendering just one hit.
Opening Day for the Maroon and White is Friday, Feb. 13, 2015, at 6:30 p.m. against Cincinnati at Dudy Noble Field.
(From MSU Media Relations)