OMAHA, Neb. -- Danny Hayes' bid for a three-run, walk-off home run came up just short as Mississippi State fended off Oregon State, 5-4, to win the opening game of the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park on Saturday afternoon.
Wes Rea's two-run double off Matt Boyd had put MSU ahead in the eighth. Mississippi State got 4 1/3 shutout innings from its bullpen against the No. 3 national seed. OSU is the highest-seeded team in Bracket One.
The Beavers put two men on with one out in the bottom of the ninth against Bulldogs closer Jonathan Holder, who had entered the game in the eighth. After Dylan Davis struck out, Hayes drilled a ball deep to right field. Hunter Renfroe broke in on the ball then raced back, catching it at the wall to secure MSU's first win at the College World Series since 1998.
"I think everybody might have had a shaky feeling there," Holder admitted. "[I] left a curveball hanging there for a second, and he hit it pretty good. I thought he might have got it a little off the end of the bat, and the wind helped me out a little bit."
The lead repeatedly changed hands in a scintillating CWS opener. Oregon State plated two runs in the bottom of the first, but Mississippi State struck right back to take a 3-2 lead in the top of the second. OSU went back ahead in the fifth on a Davis RBI groundout before Rea delivered the game-winning hit in the eighth.
"He [Boyd] was getting swings and misses on changeups," Rea said. "So I just went up there sitting changeup, and I was fortunate enough he threw me one in the middle of the plate I was able to do something with."
Oregon State freshman star Andrew Moore recovered well after a rocky second inning, allowing only an infield single and a walk from the third through the seventh. After a one-out single in the eighth, he was lifted for Boyd, who permitted an infield single and the game-winner.
The Beavers piled up plenty of baserunners against Bulldogs pitching, but had difficulty bringing them home. OSU batters went 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10 runners on the day.
"'Mo' had one bad inning and got real sharp," Oregon State coach Pat Casey said. "And we're playing a club that's got really good pitching out of the 'pen. ... When we get 10 hits, we've got to be better. We didn't execute in certain situations. And like always, little things win and lose big games."
Oregon State will play the loser of Saturday night's Indiana-Louisville game on Monday afternoon. Mississippi State will face the winner of that contest on Monday evening.
Notes: After using Boyd, part of the team's usual starting rotation, in relief, Oregon State will turn to Ben Wetzler to start its second game. ... Adam Frazier's fifth-inning single gave him 104 hits for the year, a new Mississippi State record for base hits in a season.
Matthew Leach is a writer for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.