Mississippi State Baseball takes series over Missouri, can't complete sweep

Mississippi State baseball closed out the regular season with a series win over Missouri, but they couldn't get the sweep they needed to.
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 finished out the 2024 regular season with a series win over the Missouri Tigers at Dudy Noble Field. The Diamond Dawgs took two of three from the Tigers, winning on Thursday and Friday before dropping the regular season finale on Sunday.

Though the series win was a positive, Mississippi State entered the regular season's final weekend truly looking for a sweep. The Tigers were one of the worst teams in the SEC with a sub-100 RPI. For a Bulldog team that is pushing to host a regional in the postseason, handling business all three games certainly would have been preferred.

Mississippi State finished the regular season at 36-19 with a 17-13 SEC record, good for third in the West division and fifth overall in the league.

MSU grinded out a win on Thursday night 4-3. In six innings of work, Khal Stephen stuck out eight while allowing three runs, all coming off of solo home runs. Amani Larry and Bryce Chance both hit solo shots for State with David Mershon also recording a RBI. A 6th inning double by Joe Powell gave the Bulldogs what would ultimately be the winning run. Tyson Hardin and Tyler Davis combined to close the game out for State with seven combined strikeouts over three innings.

Friday's win came much easier for State. Amani Larry stayed hot with a pair of home runs while Hunter Hines tacked on another. Five total Bulldogs drove in runs on the day. Jurrangelo Cijntje had another fantastic outing, allowing just two runs in seven innings with nine strikeouts. The Diamond Dawgs took the series with a 8-2 victory.

Saturday was a struggle for State. Pico Khon pitched well through three innings but opened the fourth with a walk and hit batter to put two runners on. He was pulled, but then back to back errors, another hit by pitch, and then a single allowed Mizzou to tie the game 2-2. State moved back ahead after a Joe Powell homer in the 6th, but the Tigers would answer with a two-run shot in the 7th.

State's bats once again struggled to come through in key moments. The Bulldogs left 12 runners on base. Making matters worse was that Dakota Jordan and Hunter Hines, they're two biggest bats, went a combined 0-10. When that happens, it's nearly impossible for State to win, and they fell 4-3.

With a sweep, the Diamond Dawgs would have been a near lock to host. Now, Mississippi State's hosting chances seem more up in the air. They're 22 in the RPI and have five Q4 losses. Even with the 19th strength of schedule, it's hard to argue them as a host over other teams.

If they want to host, they need to make some noise in the SEC Tournament. State will open play in Hoover Tuesday night as the 5-seed and take on rival Ole Miss.