Mississippi State Baseball uses big eighth-inning to win Governor's Cup

Mississippi State baseball evened the season series with Ole Miss with a win in Pearl Wednesday night.
Mississippi State's David Mershon (3) grabs an Ole Miss fly ball at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss,
Mississippi State's David Mershon (3) grabs an Ole Miss fly ball at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss, / Barbara Gauntt/Clarion Ledger / USA

Mississippi State baseball defeated rival Ole Miss Wednesday night 5-1 in the Governor's Cup at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Mississippi. The Diamond Dawgs, now 30-15 on the season, evened the season series with the Rebels at two wins a piece.

A solo home run in the second inning gave the Rebels a 1-0 advantage. In the fifth, Hunter Hines singled to bring in the tying run. With the game tied at one going into the bottom of the eighth, the Diamond Dawgs plated four runs, all with two outs, to take a commanding lead entering the final frame. Ole Miss managed to get a pair of base-runners on with one out in the top of the ninth, but then back-to-back strikeouts closed out the win for Mississippi State.

Pico Khon gives Mississippi State a quality midweek start

Pico Khon earned the start for the Diamond Dawgs, and he had a strong outing against the Rebels. In four innings of work, Khon allowed four hits but just one resulted in a run for Ole Miss, a solo shot by third-baseman Judd Utermark in the second inning. Khon struck-out five and had no walks.

State's bullpen performed well also. The combination of Karson Ligon, Cam Schuelke, Tyler Davis, and Tyson Hardin pitched five scoreless innings for Mississippi State. Though they did allow the Rebels some base-runners with five walks, they allowed just one hit in the final five frames.

One inning proves to be the difference once again for Diamond Dawg bats

It's been a theme of this season for Mississippi State's lineup to struggle for large portions of a game only to score a burst of runs late to pull ahead for a win. That was the case again Wednesday night. Through seven innings, State had just one run despite nine hits. Several hits came with two outs, and State failed to do much with them.

But just like in previous instances, MSU came alive when it had to, although Ole Miss may be more responsible than the Bulldog lineup. With one out in the eighth, Connor Hujsak was hit by a pitch to get on. A wild pitch allowed him to get all the way over to third. An Amani Larry walk put runners on the corner.

A Logan Kholer ground ball created a prime double-play chance for the Rebels, but they could only get Larry at second. Hujsak scored to put State ahead 2-1. A single and then back-to-back walks plated another for State, and then David Mershon hit a two-run double to put the Dawgs ahead by the final score of 5-1.

State is now firmly in the hosting conversation

After the win, State is up to 24th in the RPI. Despite some of the ups-and-downs and frustrations of the year, the Diamond Dawgs are no longer just looking to get back to the postseason. There's a very real chance they can play their way into hosting a regional at Dudy Noble Field, which would be a major success given the last two seasons.

If State can close out SEC play strong over the final three weekends, they'll almost certainly be hosting.