Fans of pitching are in for a treat in the 2021 College World Series finals.
The two surviving teams in the gauntlet of the NCAA baseball tournament are No. 4 Vanderbilt and No. 7 Mississippi State, two teams that have leaned on their pitching to find success this season and postseason.
The Commodores are led by the imposing duo of Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker, with Leiter set to start on Monday, while the Bulldogs boast their own sturdy one-two punch with Will Bednar and Christian MacLeod, the latter scheduled to oppose Leiter on the hill. Vanderbilt and Mississippi State collectively rank No. 1 and 2 in pitching strikeouts-per-nine-innings this season at 12.3 and 11.9, respectively. However, the Commodores come in having the better OPS (.872 to .815) and ERA (3.27 to 4.07).
Sporting News is going to be providing live updates and highlights from the first game of the College World Series.
College World Series finals live updates, highlights from Game 1
9:22 p.m.: Tanner Allen leads off the top of the fourth with a double to the right-center field gap. James, who homered in the first to give the Bulldogs the lead, is now up to the plate.
9:19 p.m. End of Third: Thomas flies out to center field to end the inning. Smith keeps the Commodores in check for another frame. Vanderbilt sticking to a 7-1 lead.
9:18 p.m.: Vaz pops out to shortstop. Two away in the bottom of the third.
9:17 p.m.: Rodriguez flies out to center field for the first out of the inning.
9:13 p.m. End Top Third: Jordan strikes out swinging at a pitch in the dirt. Six strikeouts for Leiter, who is in command on the mound.
9:12 p.m.: Lane Forsythe is also headed back to the dugout after looking at strike three.
9:10 p.m.: Kellum Clark goes down looking. Leiter is up to four strikeouts in the game.
9:06 p.m. End of Second: Noland strikes out to end the inning. Hitless frame by Smith keeps the deficit at 7-1.
9:04 p.m.: Kolwyck walks to put a runner on base with two away. Third walk of the game issued by Bulldog pitching.
9:03 p.m.: Keegan strikes out swinging. Two out in the frame.
9:01 p.m.: Carter Young grounds out to start the bottom of the second.
9:00 p.m.: Cade Smith now on the mound for the Bulldogs.
8:57 p.m. End Top Second: Nasty breaking ball sets down Scotty Dubrule on strikes. Grounder to first base ends the inning and Vanderbilt is back into the batter’s box.
8:55 p.m.: Leiter starts off the second inning with a strikeout of Logan Tanner.
8:51 p.m.: End of First. Bradfield strikes out to end the inning, mercifully, for Mississippi State. The Bulldogs trail by six.
8:49 p.m. Vanderbilt scoring play: This is not good for the Bulldogs. Jayson Gonzalez, Vanderbilt’s No. 9 hitter, launches a three-run homer to left. Commodores flip the lineup over in the first, and still have Leiter on the mound. Vanderbilt extends lead to 7-1.
8:46 p.m.: Chase Patrick now on the mound for Mississippi State. He has a 1.98 ERA in 13.2 innings of work this season.
8:43 p.m. Vanderbilt scoring play: Thomas drops in a single to left to score Noland and puts runners on second and third for Jayson Gonzalez. This will be the end of the day for MacLeod, who for the second straight start, does not make it through two innings. This time, he can’t escape the first. Vanderbilt extends lead to 4-1.
8:40 p.m.: Vaz pops out and the runners stay put. Right fielder Isaiah Thomas now up for the Commodores with two outs.
8:38 p.m. Vanderbilt scoring play: CJ Rodriguez delivers with a two-run single to left field. Vanderbilt quickly in the lead. Runners now on first and second for Javier Vaz. Vanderbilt takes a 3-1 lead.
8:33 p.m. Vanderbilt scoring play: Noland hit in the shoulder with a pitch brings in a run to tie the game at 1. Vanderbilt ties the game 1-1.
8:31 p.m.: Kolwyck is hit by a pitch to load the bases. Sophomore second baseman Parker Noland now with a big chance to do damage for the Commodores with only one away.
8:30 p.m.: Bradfield swipes third base easily. Runners now on the corners.
8:30 p.m.: Dominic Keegan takes a walk. Runners on first and second with only one out for Tate Kolwyck.
8:26 p.m.: That speed pays off for Vanderbilt. Bradfield starts for second and is safe on a groundout to third base that could have resulted in a double play had he not been running.
8:22 p.m.: Leadoff walk for freshman center fielder Enrique Bradfield Jr. He is not a batter you want to walk. One home run this season, but 46 stolen bases, the most of any Division I player in the nation in 2021.
8:17 p.m. End Top First: Leiter fields his second grounder in the frame to escape the inning, but the Bulldogs are up early on one of the nation’s best college pitchers.
8:15 p.m. Mississippi State scoring play: Kamren James sends a 3-1, knee-high fastball to left field for a home run. Mississippi State takes a 1-0 lead.
8:11 p.m.: Leiter paints a 95 mph fastball inside to Rowdey Jordan and the game starts with a strikeout.
8:10 p.m.: Fastball outside and this game is underway.
8:03 p.m.:The College World Series is just about to get started.
— NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) June 29, 2021
7:30 p.m.: The game is now scheduled to begin at 8:09 p.m. ET.
7:03 p.m.: Commentators on the ESPN2 broadcast say that rain has not come down on the field yet, but that it is set to come soon, prompting the game to be put on hold. The hope is to not have the players get up and active only to delay mid-game.
6:40 p.m.: The start of the College World Series is delayed.
6:38 p.m.: The lineups are set for tonight’s College World Series matchup.
How to watch 2021 College World Series finals Game 1?
ESPN continues its coverage of the College World Series with the first game of the series set to air on ESPN2. ESPN will show the second game of the series, while ESPN2 will again carry the third game if necessary in the best-of-three series.
Viewers will also be able to stream the College World Series finals on ESPN+ or fuboTV, which offers a free seven-day trial.
College World Series schedule, scores
Monday, June 28
|Vanderbilt vs. Mississippi State||7 p.m. ET (ESPN2)|
Tuesday, June 29
|Vanderbilt vs. Mississippi State||7 p.m. ET (ESPN)|
Wednesday, June 30
|Vanderbilt vs. Mississippi State (if necessary)||7 p.m. ET (ESPN2)|