Hujsak's heroics lifts Mississippi State Baseball over rivals in SEC Tournament

Right when it looked like Mississippi State baseball was going to suffer another frustrating loss to Ole Miss, Connor Hujsak delivered.
Mississippi State's David Mershon (3) grabs an Ole Miss fly ball at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss, Wednesday, May 1, 2024.
Mississippi State's David Mershon (3) grabs an Ole Miss fly ball at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss, Wednesday, May 1, 2024. / Barbara Gauntt/Clarion Ledger / USA

For all the spectacle of the SEC Baseball Tournament, the event holds a bit of a poor reputation in one area. The tournament has been plagued with lengthy weather delays throughout its history in Hoover. The heavy rain and storms that are typical during the spring and summer months in the South can never seem to take a break during the SEC's premier outdoor postseason event.

Fans have grown used to the set schedule becoming totally worthless on the tournament's first day, as the weather can seemingly never cooperate. That's why when Mississippi State fans saw they had the nightcap for Tuesday, they quipped that a game going into the wee hours of Wednesday morning was imminent.

Surprisingly, mother nature was eerily quiet on Tuesday. Conditions stayed calm all throughout the day, and no games were delayed. There were no storms to interfere.

But then shortly after 10:00 pm in Hoover, lightning struck.

Connor Hujsak saves the day for Mississippi State

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, trailing rival Ole Miss 1-0 with a runner on, Connor Hujsak stepped to the plate for Mississippi State. The centerfielder in his first game back after having been out with injury the last two weeks, and to that point, things weren't going well for him or anyone else in the lineup.

State's bats had been ice cold. They had just three hits and 10 strikeouts to that point. Hujsak was 0-3 with a pair of strikeouts. And for Hujsak in particular, his miss of robbing an Ole Miss home run in the 5th inning was the only reason State was trailing.

He more than made up for it.

On the first pitch of the at-bat, Hujsak attacked a waist-high fastball and hammered it into the Ole Miss bullpen in left field. Walk-off, Bulldogs win 2-1.

What looked to certainly be another frustrating loss for Mississippi State turned into a victory that will long be remembered by the Bulldog faithful, made all the more sweet because it ended their archrival's season.

Brooks Auger puts together a masterclass on the mound

It would have been a real shame if Brooks Auger's pitching performance had gone to waste on Tuesday. It would have been even worse if he'd been forced to take a loss on the stat sheet after that performance.

Thankfully, Connor Hujsak made sure his efforts weren't in vain.

Brooks Auger was outstanding for Mississippi State. In 8.0 innings of work, Auger allowed just three hits and one run, the aforementioned Rebel homer that Hujsak just couldn't quite secure, and struck out 13 batters with no walks.

And not only did he not allow a walk, he threw just 12 total balls the entire game!

Auger's 13 Ks are tied for the seventh-most in SEC Tournament history. He has the second-most Ks by a Bulldog pitcher in the SEC tournament, trailing Eric DuBose's 14 against Auburn in 1995 and tying Todd Doolittle's 2005 outing against South Carolina.

Mississippi State's hosting chances are still alive

State's goal in Hoover is a simple one - win enough games to secure a hosting spot for a regional. If they wanted that to keep that dream alive, they had to beat Ole Miss, no exceptions.

They've now done that, and the door for hosting is open. It's still not a sure-thing. They likely need to beat Texas A&M Wednesday to feel good about a regional coming to Starkville, but they're in the conversation.

MSU takes on the 4th-seeded Aggies Wednesday night at approximately 8:00 pm CT.