Diamond Dawg Gameday: NCAA Starkville Super Regional

Published 7:00 am Sunday, June 13, 2021

Mississippi State meets Notre Dame for third time in program history during the NCAA postseason

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STARKVILLE – The history of the series might not be long, but the No. 3 Mississippi State baseball program and No. 4 Notre Dame have a history of meeting up in the postseason. That history will continue this weekend, as the Diamond Dawgs and Fighting Irish match up in the NCAA Starkville Super Regional.

Four of the six meetings between MSU and UND in program history have come in the NCAA Tournament, with each team winning twice. Notre Dame won a single game in 1993, before Mississippi State won two of three meetings to advance to the 2000 NCAA Super Regional.

Mississippi State (43-15) swept through the NCAA Starkville Regional to advance to its fifth straight Super Regional. Notre Dame (33-11) outscored the opposition 50-5 to sweep the NCAA South Bend Regional and reach its second Super Regional in program history.

On the mound, Mississippi State piled up 42 strikeouts in three games at the NCAA Starkville Regional. Christian MacLeod fanned 12 of those in a start, while Houston Harding struck out 10 in relief. The Diamond Dawgs held the opposition to a .220 average and allowed just 4.3 runs per game.

On the flipside of that, the offense was powered by Kamren James and Rowdey Jordan in the regional round. James, who earned MVP honors of the Starkville Regional, hit two of MSU’s six home runs and drove in a Regional-best seven RBIs. Jordan pounded out eight hits – including four doubles – and scored seven runs.

Niko Kavadas powered the Irish offense at the NCAA South Bend Regional with five home runs among his six hits. He walked six times, scored nine runs and drove in 13 RBIs. Slated to open the Super Regional on the mound for Notre Dame, John Michael Bertrand tossed a complete game shutout against Central Michigan to open Regional play. He allowed five hits and walked one with six strikeouts.

Gameday Info


Saturday, June 12 (1 p.m.)

Probable Starters

MSU: Will Bednar, RHP, Fr. (2Y)

ND: John Michael Bertrand, LHP, Gr.

Live Video: https://hailst.at/2SrJspY

Live Audio: https://hailst.at/audio

Live Stats: http://hailst.at/StatBroadcast


Sunday, June 13 (5 p.m.)

Probable Starters

MSU: Christian MacLeod, LHP, Fr. (3Y)


Live Video: https://hailst.at/3fCFd45

Live Stats: http://hailst.at/StatBroadcast

Live Stats: http://hailst.at/StatBroadcast


Monday, June 14 (6 p.m.)

Probable Starters



Live Video: https://hailst.at/3fCFd45

Live Stats: http://hailst.at/StatBroadcast

Live Stats: http://hailst.at/StatBroadcast



Quick Hitters

  • The Diamond Dawgs earned their fifth straight trip to the NCAA Super Regional, the longest active streak in the NCAA, after they swept the NCAA Starkville Regional.
  • Mississippi State pushed its NCAA Regional winning streak to 10 games with a victory over Campbell in the Regional final. State won the final four games of the 2018 Tallahassee Regional, swept the 2019 Starkville Regional and captured its first two games in 2021.
  • In home postseason games, Mississippi State has won eight straight postseason games after going 5-0 during the 2019 postseason and winning three in 2021 at The Dude. That is the longest home postseason winning streak in program history.
  • Mississippi State will meet Notre Dame for the seventh time in program history on Saturday, with four of the previous six meetings coming in NCAA postseason play.
  • The Diamond Dawg pitching staff reached the 700-strikeout mark for the second time in program history with 17 punchouts versus VCU. The 2019 staff fanned a school-record 718 batters and the 2021 edition sits No. 2 on the single-season list with 715.
  • State fanned 10 batters in each of its NCAA Tournament games to make it 46 of 58 games in 2021 with double-digit strikeouts. That includes a program-record streak of 21 games from March 21-May 1.
  • Mississippi State piled up 16 runs against VCU on Saturday to tie for the seventh most runs in an NCAA postseason game. It is the 10th time in program history MSU scored 15-plus runs in an NCAA Tournament game and the first 1999 (18; vs. Nebraska).
  • Will Bednar struck out eight batters on Friday to move his total to 109 strikeouts on the season. In his first full season of college baseball, Bednar has tied Eric DuBose (109; 1995) for the most punchouts in a freshman season.
  • Christian MacLeod followed with 13 punchouts against VCU to join Bednar in the century club and give Mississippi State its fifth season with a 100-strikeout tandem in program history. It is the third straight full season with a 100-strikeout duo.
  • Tanner Allen moved his hitting streak to 21 games with a two-hit game against Campbell. It also extended his reached base streak to 24 games, which is the second-longest on the team this season (38; Rowdey Jordan) and of his career (26; 2019-20).
  • Rowdey Jordan posted multiple hits in each of the three NCAA Regional games in 2021. For his career in NCAA Regional play, Jordan is 25-for-50 (.500) with 16 runs scored, eight doubles, three home runs and 12 RBIs.
  • Kamren James blasted his 10th and 11th home runs of the season int he NCAA Starkville Regional to earn MVP honors. In reaching double digits, Mississippi State now has three hitters with 10-plus home runs. It is the first time since 1999 that MSU has seen three Diamond Dawgs hit double-digit home runs in the same season..


NCAA Tournament Nuggets

  • Mississippi State will host an NCAA Super Regional for the fourth time in program history from June 12-14, with Notre Dame coming to Dudy Noble Field for the best two-of-three series.
  • The Diamond Dawgs are the only program in the country to an active streak of four straight NCAA Super Regionals.
  • The Bulldogs have hosted Clemson (2007), Arizona (2016) and Stanford (2019) in the three previous Super Regionals, with each of those taking just two games to decide.
  • State won two games over Clemson and Stanford to earn trips to the College World Series in 2007 and 2019 but fell to Arizona in 2016.
  • MSU is making its 39th appearance in the NCAA Championships, which ranks No. 9 in the tournament’s history. In 11 of those, Mississippi State has advanced to the College World Series, which is No. 13 among Division I programs.
  • The Bulldogs have made 33 NCAA Regional appearances and own an 87-43 (.669) record all-time on their way to 16 regional titles.
  • Mississippi State owns a 47-18 (.723) record over 15 NCAA Regionals played at Dudy Noble Field, as well as a 10-game win streak in regional games played in Starkville.
  • In Super Regional games, Mississippi State is 9-11 (.450) overall, but have won four of the last five Super Regional games it has played. State was 2-1 at the 2018 Nashville Super Regional and swept the 2019 Starkville Super Regional.
  • All-time against Notre Dame, Mississippi State is 2-4, with four of the six meetings coming in the NCAA postseason. Notre Dame defeated MSU in the 1993 NCAA Tallahassee Regional opener, before State took 2-of-3 games in the 2000 Starkville Regional.


Scouting the Opponent

  • Notre Dame enters after sweeping the NCAA South Bend Regional to push its record to 33-11 overall. The Fighting Irish finished second in the ACC with a 25-10 conference mark.
  • As a team, the Irish lead the nation in fielding percentage at .984 and rank No. 11 in double plays per game (0.93). The pitching staff led the ACC in shutouts (6) and the offense ranks second in the conference in stolen bases per game (1.43).
  • Golden Spikes Award semifinalist Niko Kavadas powers the Irish offense with a team-best 62 RBIs and 21 home runs to go along with his .309 batting average. He has walked 47 times and struck out just 50 times in 44 games played.
  • John Michael Bertrand has been the ace of the staff in 2021, as the only Notre Dame pitcher with double-digit starts on the season. He is 8-2 with a 2.98 ERA in 84 2/3 innings of work.
  • The pitching staff had three of the top ERAs in the ACC this season, as Tanner Kohlhepp (2.93) and Aidan Tyrell (2.91) joined Bertrand on the list. Tyrell made seven starts over 16 appearances, while Kohlhepp had one start over 22 appearances.

Series Notes

  • Mississippi State and Notre Dame will meet for the seventh time in program history to open the NCAA Starkville Super Regional, with Fighting Irish owning a 4-2 edge all time.
  • Four of the six meetings in program history have come in the regional round of the NCAA Tournament, with Notre Dame winning a single game in 1993, before Mississippi State won two of three meetings to advance to the 2000 NCAA Super Regional.
  • The first meeting came in Tallahassee, Florida, when Notre Dame won a 15-1 decision.
  • In 2000, the Irish traveled to Starkville for the 2000 NCAA Regional and State won two of three games in the event to punch its ticket to the Super Regional versus Clemson.
  • In 2001, Notre Dame traveled to Starkville to open the season and took both games in the truncated NBC Classic at Dudy Noble Field.