By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
OMAHA, Neb. – If this was the last appearance for Chad Girodo in a Mississippi State uniform, it was a mighty fine one.
The senior left-hander turned in yet another strong long-relief outing on Monday, keeping MSU close in what turned out to be a 3-1 loss to UCLA in Game 1 of the College World Series finals.
In 72⁄3 innings, Girodo allowed two runs – both unearned – on three hits, striking out nine and walking two. In five NCAA postseason appearances, he’s struck out 45 in 27 innings.
He entered in the second inning for starter Trevor Fitts, getting a strikeout and taking a toss from first baseman Wes Rea for the final out.
UCLA got two runs in the fourth, but both were unearned due to catcher Nick Ammirati’s throwing error.
Rea’s tough night
Rea had a scary moment in the fourth inning when he collided with Brian Carroll. The UCLA center fielder laid down a bunt, and he ran into Rea as Ammirati’s throw sailed wide.
Both players went down, and Rea stayed down for a few minutes. But he shook it off and stayed in the game. He later took a pitch off the elbow.
Rea had made a big defensive play earlier in the game. He dove to his right to snag a grounder and flipped to Fitts for an inning-ending out in the first, causing UCLA to strand two runners.
At the plate, Rea went 0 for 3.
The NCAA does not allow artificial noisemakers at its events, but some confusion briefly had MSU fans believing they would be allowed to bring cowbells into TD Ameritrade Park.
Omaha’s Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority, which runs the stadium, was letting fans bring in cowbells due to what an NCAA spokesman said was miscommunication within the MECA staff. Just before game time, it was made clear that cowbells would not be allowed in the stadium, and fans were not allowed to ring them.
Of course, that didn’t stop some fans from ringing away.