Ninth-inning magic comes through once again for Mississippi State baseball in Hoover

Connor Hujsak delivered in a clutch moment for the second-straight night to lift Mississippi State baseball over Texas A&M.
Mississippi State pitcher Khal Stephen (14) pitches against Ole Miss at Swayze Field in Oxford, Miss., on Friday, Apr. 12, 2024.
Mississippi State pitcher Khal Stephen (14) pitches against Ole Miss at Swayze Field in Oxford, Miss., on Friday, Apr. 12, 2024. / Bruce Newman/Special to the Clarion

The Diamond Dawgs are getting hot, and they might have some magic in them. For the second-straight night, Mississippi State baseball pulled off a thrilling victory in the 9th inning, with the same player coming through when needed.

MSU battled with 4-seed Texas A&M for eight innings, with the game tied at three. With two outs in the top of the 9th, Connor Hujsak drove in a pair of runs to put State up 5-3. Tyler Davis would get three quick outs to end to the game and advance the Bulldogs in the winner's bracket.

Mississippi State is now 38-19 on the season.

Connor Hujsak saves the day once again for Diamond Dawgs

One of the biggest critiques from State fans this season has been the lack of clutch hitting from the Bulldogs. When they've been in a key moment, needing a run, and have baserunners on, no one in the lineup has shown the ability to consistently come through.

That is, until Connor Hujsak stepped up.

Fresh off of emphatically ending his rival's season, Hujsak once again stepped to the plate with two outs in the 9th inning with the pressure on him to deliver. Consecutive hit by pitches and a throwing error had the bases loaded for State in a 3-3 game. They just needed someone to drive them home.

And Mr. Clutch himself was up for the task. Hujsak drove a single through the middle of the infield, bringing in the winning runs for the Bulldogs.

MSU has found its guy they can rely on in the big moments, and that makes them all the more dangerous in the postseason.

Bulldog pitchers quiet potent Aggie lineup

The story of the season for Mississippi State baseball has been the turnaround of their pitching staff. First-year pitching coach Justin Parker has worked wonders with the group, taking them from one of the SEC's worst a year ago to being amongst the league's best.

That showed Wednesday night against Texas A&M's powerful lineup.

Starter Khal Stephen didn't have his usual dominant stuff, but he still entered the 6th inning having allowed just one run. A walk and a single put a pair on, and he was pulled for Tyson Hardin. The Aggies managed to get those runs home to tie the game at three, but Hardin limited the damage.

The final three innings of work by MSU's staff was shutdown. Nate Dohm and Tyler Davis allowed just one combined hit, no walks, and no runs, with Davis getting the save in the bottom of the 9th to secure the win.

The Aggies had just five hits on the night, and their three biggest bats went a combined 1-10. Pitching wins in the postseason, and State has it.

State looks set to host

If MSU wanted to host a regional, they needed two wins in Hoover at a minimum. They've achieved that, and now, they'll almost certainly see another weekend at Dudy Noble Field. State's back into the Top-20 of the RPI and now owns 16 Q1 wins, third most of any team.

This morning's update from Baseball America, who has been lower on State as a host, was a positive one. They have MSU as the #15 national seed, hosting Arizona, Georgia Tech, and Nicholls State in Starkville.

The Diamond Dawgs will look to improve their positioning tonight against Vanderbilt. First pitch is set for approximately 8:00 pm CT, and you can watch on the SEC Network.