Mississippi State Baseball Gets Back on Track Against Georgia

The Diamond Dawgs needed a series win this weekend, and they got it done.
Mississippi State breaks in the new Dudy Noble Field with a three-game series against Youngstown
Mississippi State breaks in the new Dudy Noble Field with a three-game series against Youngstown / Keith Warren

Mississippi State baseball took the series against Georgia over the weekend, winning two out of three in Starkville at Dudy Noble Field. Mississippi State pulled away late to win the series opener Friday night, 6-1. On Saturday, they lost a low-scoring affair 3-2 following a controversial review and subsequent ejections after a play at the plate led to benches clearing. Sunday, State prevailed in a shootout 9-8 to get the series victory.

Following the series win, Mississippi State baseball improved its record to 21-12 overall and 6-6 in SEC play. They are now third in the SEC West division standings.

Big Eighth Inning Propels Diamond Dawgs on Friday

Mississippi State won the series opener on Friday 6-1. Khal Stephen drew the start on the mound and had a strong outing, striking out seven and allowing just five hits and one run in 6 2/3 innings of work.

State's lineup was quiet much of the game, and they led 2-1 going into the bottom of the 8th. They found the offense they needed to close things out in that 8th inning with three hits and four runs scored. A Hunter Hines single scored David Mershon, and then Conner Hujsak hit a 3-run home run, putting State ahead by five.

Cam Schuelke allowed no hits and no runs in the final 2 1/3 innings to close out the game for MSU.

Controversy strikes Saturday contest

Georgia evened the series on Saturday with a 3-2 win, hitting the winning home run in the top of the 9th. But that's not the story of the game.

With two outs in the top of the 8th in a 2-2 game, MSU catcher Johnny Long tagged out UGA's Dillon Carter at the plate to prevent the go-ahead run and end the inning. After recording the out, Long taunted Carter, leading to benches clearing on both sides.

This resulted in a 40-minute review by officials and, ultimately, 11 players between the two sides being ejected from the game, including several of MSU's most important batters. The controversy here is that, outside of Long, there were no acts worthy of ejection by either side.

Rather than simply ejecting the one player who instigated things and moving forward, the game was put on hold to have players who did nothing wrong kicked out. And the bigger controversy was that, at the time, it seemed those ejected would also have to miss Sunday's game, which would have been nearly impossible for MSU to overcome.

State wins series with Sunday shootout

Luckily for Mississippi State, they have an athletic director willing to fight for them. Sunday morning State AD Zac Selmon put out a statement on Twitter (X) that after hours of discussion with the SEC offices, only Johnny Long and Logan Kohler would be suspended for Sunday's series finale.

Moving ahead with things mostly back to normal, Mississippi State pulled out a hard-fought win in a high-scoring rubber-match on Sunday, winning 9-8. Georgia went up 5-0 in the top of the 3rd, but MSU quickly responded with a 4-run bottom of the 3rd to get back within one.

The squads went back and forth over the next few innings. MSU trailed 8-7 going into the bottom of the 8th. A Connor Hujsak single tied the game at eight before a Hunter Hines sacrifice fly gave State the lead.

Tyler Davis, who pitched three scoreless innings to close the game, got the win, and Mississippi State picked up a much-needed series win. The Diamond Dawgs will look to keep momentum going this coming weekend when they travel to Oxford to take on rival Ole Miss.