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Virginia loses its no-hitter and its lead, then falls to Mississippi State at College World Series

Mississippi State players celebrate during their eighth-inning rally Tuesday night in Omaha. (John Peterson/AP)

OMAHA — Virginia’s Griff McGarry was five outs away from becoming the first pitcher since 1960 to throw a no-hitter at the College World Series. But in a span of four batters Tuesday night, the no-hitter was gone and so was Virginia’s four-run lead.

With one out in the eighth inning, Mississippi State’s Kellum Clark broke up the no-hitter with a two-run homer into the bullpen in right field. Three batters later, Tanner Allen drilled a three-run shot into the same bullpen off reliever Stephen Schoch to give the Bulldogs the lead.

Mississippi State ended up scoring six times in the inning and went on to a 6-5 win at TD Ameritrade Park.

“We didn’t do enough to finish,” Virginia Coach Brian O’Connor said. “They had key players rise up.”

The loss dropped Virginia (36-26) into an elimination game against Texas at 7 p.m. Thursday. Virginia is 6-0 in elimination games in this year’s NCAA tournament, but it will have to find a way to bounce back after letting a late lead slip away.

“Obviously it was a tough ending for us, but we’re not out of the fight,” McGarry said.

McGarry entered Tuesday’s game with an 0-5 record and a 6.06 ERA. But the senior right-hander was stellar in a super regional start, when he allowed two hits and struck out 10 in seven scoreless innings as he took a no-decision in a win against Dallas Baptist.

The senior from Portola Valley, Calif., was even better Tuesday. He retired the first five batters, issued a walk, then set down 12 straight before hitting Rowdey Jordan with a pitch with two outs in the sixth.

In the seventh, MSU cleanup hitter Luke Hancock hit a drive to the wall that right fielder Kyle Teel waited for before reaching up to catch. But Mississippi State (47-16) didn’t miss its chance in the eighth.

“For six or seven innings, he was the best pitcher we’ve faced the last couple years. He was electric,” Mississippi State Coach Chris Lemonis said of McGarry. “We talked to the team about [how] it’s so hard to get the last outs in Omaha. ‘Keep fighting, keep fighting, get something going.’ ”

Sunday's opener: Virginia makes itself at home in Omaha, shuts out Tennessee in College World Series

Virginia kept fighting, too, as it pulled within 6-5 in the bottom half of the eighth on a Chris Newell homer. But Bulldogs closer Landon Sims retired the final four batters for his 12th save.

Mississippi State’s pitchers were on the ropes most of Tuesday night. Virginia’s offense put pressure on starter Christian MacLeod right away, stringing together productive at-bat after productive at-bat.

Zack Gelof led off the bottom of the first with a single and was sacrificed to second before Teel lined an RBI single to center. Virginia stranded two in scoring position, but there was more to come in the second.

Jake Gelof led off with a walk and was sacrificed to second before the next three batters — Newell, Zack Gelof and Max Cotier — delivered RBI hits. Newell, the No. 9 hitter, lined a double to the fence in left-center. Gelof then doubled inside the third base bag, and Cotier lined a single to center to make it 4-0.

That knocked MacLeod out of the game. It was his shortest outing of the season in his 18th start.

But Virginia missed chances to tack on more runs. Later in the second, it loaded the bases with one out, but reliever Preston Johnson got two strikeouts to end the threat. The Cavaliers had runners at the corners with one out in the fourth and sixth innings but came away empty, eventually stranding 10 runners on the night.

Newell finished with three hits, two runs and two RBI, and Zack Gelof and Teel had three hits apiece. The teams tied a CWS record by using 13 pitchers, including eight by the Bulldogs.

McGarry said Virginia’s ability to rebound in must-win games during previous rounds of the tournament gives the Cavaliers perspective for what’s ahead.

“It’s all about how you bounce back,” he said.

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