What's at stake for Mississippi State, Vanderbilt in Game 3?

Rowdey Jordan and Lane Forsythe add a few RBI hits to a 5-run seventh, giving Mississippi State a 13-1 advantage over Vanderbilt. (0:32).OMAHA (Neb. It will be thanks to players like Preston Johnson that Mississippi State finally makes history Wednesday night by winning its first national championship in any sport.Coach Chris Lemonis has made Johnson one of only a few Mississippi junior-college transferees. Johnson does not possess the extraordinary talents of Vanderbilt's Kumar Rocker or Jack Leiter's pedigree. However, he does have a reminder on his inside bill: You belong.Johnson allowed just two hits over five innings in Mississippi State's 13-2 defeat of Vanderbilt Tuesday night. This forced a winner-takes-all Game 3 at College World Series. He also gave Landon Sims, the bullpen ace, another day to rest so that he could pitch Wednesday night at TD Ameritrade Park.Two days of championship round blowouts at Vanderbilt are expected to end its national championship hopes with Rocker. Mississippi State could turn to Sims or ace Will Bednar for their national championship hopes.Lemonis wouldn't say if Bednar would pitch after three days of rest. Lemonis stated that "we don't know right now." "We'll evaluate everything when we get home, and look at our arms to see if it makes sense. You'll probably know something by tomorrow midday.They can't, however, in the midst a championship drought lasting over 100 years and given Bednars success in Omaha.One thing is certain: Two years after a Vanderbilt freshman phenom won the national championship, Vanderbilt's College World Series hopes rest on Rocker's shoulders.Coach Tim Corbin of Vanderbilt said Tuesday night, "He'll compete." "Give him the ball and he'll compete."As a freshman, Kumar Rocker was the CWS' Most Outstanding Player. AP Photo/Butch DillThe Mississippi State win was a blowout one night after Vanderbilt beat the Bulldogs 8-2. But Tuesday's game in front of 24,122 people, mostly in MSU maroon, felt like a major momentum shift. The defending national champions, the Mississippi State Commodores suddenly seem like underdogs.Johnson and Houston Harding, a former JUCO pitcher, were strong performers that helped the Bulldogs win the game early. Sims has not been seen in the bullpen since Saturday due to the blowouts. Sims has been responsible for two saves in Omaha and one win. He allowed just one run over seven innings while strikingout 11.Lemonis stated, "I feel like he has been there in every win over the last month," "It was huge for him to get the win and have the night off," Lemonis said.With Sims and Bednar as their one-two punch, the Bulldogs have been tremendously successful in Omaha. In fact, Sims won the CWS opening game by striking out 15 batters in a victory over Texas. Bednar threw 110 pitches on that day and he threw 97 more Saturday night against the Longhorns.Vanderbilt's star of the future was Christian Little (17 years old) on Tuesday night. The freshman pitched well for the first two innings. The Commodores fell apart in the third when a grounder was caught in shortstop Carter Young’s glove. Vanderbilt went down 5-1 after three walks and a wild pitch.Although Mississippi State's bats were able to produce 14 hits, Vanderbilt's offense is still struggling in Omaha. The Commodores had just five hits in Monday's win. Corbin's team has had a strange CWS. It found out that it advanced to the CWS finals via a late-night text on Friday. This was after North Carolina State, its opponent, was sent home for positive COVID-19 testing.Rocker pitched against NC State earlier that day in an elimination match. Because of positive COVID testing that morning, the Wolfpack had only 13 players. The righty, 6'5" and 245 lbs, threw 111 pitches over six innings. He struck out 11, while allowing five runs.If he pitches today, Rocker who is expected to be a top MLB draft selection next month would be getting four days of rest.Rocker captivated Omaha two years ago. He struck out 17 batters and won two games with a 1.29 ERA. Rocker was the CWS Most Outstanding player. He was a freshman.Corbin stated that Rocker thrives at the competitive arena. On Sunday, Rocker spoke to Zoom reporters about his desire to win another title for his class. Last year, Rocker was unable to do so because of COVID suspension.Rocker stated, "Those guys have waited for two years to play this spot," and "those are my guys that I'm excited about."Mississippi State has waited longer. Before this season, the Bulldogs made 11 trips to Omaha but never returned home with a championship. Over the past week, thousands of supporters traveled up Interstate 29 to offer their support or at least some words.Scotty Dubrule, second baseman at MSU, said that "if that moment comes", he would be grateful. "But we're just going out to do our thing tomorrow."Play 0:38 Mississippi State pitcher wave goodbye to homer. Mississippi State pitcher Preston Johnson instantly knows that he has made a mistake when he wave goodbye to the home run from Vanderbilt's Maxwell Romero Jr.Johnson is sure to have been enjoying every moment, both good and bad. He was enjoying Tuesday's game until he surrendered a single home run to Maxwell Romero Jr. during the ninth inning. He waved at the ball as it left the park, expressing gratitude that Romero had saved him from making a mistake. He could only appreciate the game, which he couldn't have imagined.He said, "It was a lot fun." It was a true dream.