By Logan Lowery
STARKVILLE – The largest crowd to ever watch a college baseball game on campus also witnessed one of the most dramatic as No. 17 Mississippi State rallied with four runs in the bottom of the 10th inning to defeat instate nemesis Ole Miss 6-5.
But Bulldog fans already had reason to celebrate having broke the NCAA attendance record with 15,586, shattering their own previous record from 1989 by 595.
“This is not only important for our athletic department and our baseball program but for our whole university,” said MSU coach John Cohen. “This is like a homecoming in the spring. To see this many people show up for football, baseball and other events is really exciting for our kids. This is something they’ll never forget.”
Freshman catcher Gavin Collins, who delivered the game-winning single, had his entire family visiting Dudy Noble Field for the first time from Lake Forest, Calif. Collins was overwhelmed by the atmosphere on Saturday.
“I just want to thank this crowd,” Collins said. “15,000-plus, that’s awesome man. Everybody being here just gave us that extra boost to come back and get that win. This was a big win for us.”
MSU now owns the top 11 on-campus crowds in NCAA history and 17 of the top 25. Friday night’s crowd of 13,324 ranks as the eighth-most ever and was the largest ever to see a game on Friday. The Bulldogs also boast the largest fan base to view a three-day SEC series with 29,915 in attendance.
Saturday’s attendance marks the 33rd time in school history it has eclipsed 10,000 or more. The Diamond Dogs have surpassed 10,000 or better three times this season.
State also holds claim to the two largest Super Regional crowds in NCAA history with 12,620 and 13,715 fans respectively during the 2007 Starkville Super Regional against Clemson.
Dudy Noble Field was ranked as the top venue in college baseball by StadiumJourney.com last summer.