It was thrilling, however, for Mississippi State. The Bulldogs were always going to win. State was trailing for almost the entire game. Jordan Westburg, a Bulldog freshman, had already hit one grand slam during the College World Series. He came to the plate in the bottom ninth with the bases loaded. The Bulldogs trailed 5-2. Two were out. Jake Mangum was Mr. Clutch was eagerly waiting on deck and Westburg represented the winning run of a game that could’ve landed the Bulldogs in the CWS championship series. The crowd was 21,821 strong. The crowd was still holding its collective breath. Can the Bulldogs, who were almost thrown to the ground so many times this season rally once more? Not quite. Westburg hit a sharp grounder against Cadyn Grenier of Oregon State, who was slick-fielding and threw to second base for the final out. There are two ways to view it. * State finished 39-29. * Oregon State was 53-11-1 after the win. Both are likely true. Both are likely true. Oregon State is a great college baseball team that will face Arkansas in Monday’s championship series. The Beavers out-hit the Bulldogs and out-pitched them. They were able to make some great fielding plays when they most needed them. They won 53 games for many reasons. Kevin Abel, a freshman right-handed pitcher, was the hero of this match. He lasted seven innings and allowed just three hits and one run, raising his record to 6-1. Tyler Malone, the sophomore designated hitter, was the other player who scored the winning run with a three-run homer over the right-centerfield fence in the third inning. Oregon State scored all eight runs in a third inning that saw five out of eight hits. Ethan Small, the state starter, had been a great pitcher before. Cole Gordon pitched 4.1 innings of scoreless relief. Mississippi State was down 5-1 after Malone’s blast but kept believing. Rowdey Jordan, the freshman who went from promising to being the real deal, said that “the mood was positive like all year.” “We’ve been down until our last strike before. We believed and gained some momentum. . . “We just came up short.” Henderson, State’s interim coaching coach, was not discouraged by the loss. He had been voted the national coach-of-the-year. He said, clearly expressing his emotion. He boasted about his assistant coaches, who all came to his post-game media conference. He boasted about his freshmen, who were four of the players on this night’s roster. He also boasted about his veterans. He paused once to collect himself after his voice shakes a few times. You should reconsider if you think Henderson isn’t interested in remaining as head coach. He said, “I love my job.” “… Mississippi State has a beautiful campus. The fans are amazing…The support for baseball is incredible. It was something I have never seen. We did everything we could to make sure we can continue the good work that we started with these men. “… We have a great group. My assistant coaches are my best friends. They are loved by our players. We’d love to see the team continue on what they started. It’s a beautiful place.” What happens next? Henderson replied, “I’m just very optimistic.” “That’s Coach John Cohen’s decision. He will do a great job. … We would like to stay here… The fans are here. We would love to be there and continue the tradition. … I would love to be the Mississippi State baseball coach. “I do,” Cohen, the athletic director that brought Henderson to State as a pitching coach, is non-committal. My guess? A educated guess: Cohen would have named Henderson. You can expect something to happen next week. State fans can only appreciate the success of these Bulldogs, including their assistant coaches and interim coach. Three victories were all that separated a season that started in complete humiliation from a championship. Remarkable.