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Hujsak, Stephen Propel Mississippi State Past Georgia In Bulldog Battle

Outfielder Connor Hujsak (left) and pitcher Khal Stephen (right)

By Doug Kyle

In a battle of the Bulldogs on Friday night, it was the maroon and white version who emerged victorious over the red and black, Mississippi State leading all the way in a 6-1 win over Georgia that evened their conference record at 5-5, exactly one third of the way through the league gauntlet.

And while the lead was never relinquished, that doesn't mean it wasn't in serious jeopardy for a large part of the game. Taking an early 2-0 lead with runs in the second and third innings that was cut in half by Georgia with a run in the fifth, the visiting pitching staff proceeded to retire 15 of the home batters in a row at one point from the third to the eighth. It was likely a feeling of Deja Vu for some of the home crowd of 12,315, as MSU struggled through a mid-game offensive drought for the second straight game and, as Head Coach Chris Lemonis would remark post-game, failed to expand the lead until late in the game.

Sparkplug David Mershon was the one who ultimately ended the streak, reaching on a bunt that led to an RBI opposite-field hit by Hunter Hines and the clinching blow, a three-run homer by Connor Hujsak (hi-zack).

And, all the while the scoreboard didn't change for the maroon and white Bulldogs, starting pitcher Khal Stephen turned in another solid performance and made sure the red and black side of the ledger didn't change either. Stephen (4-2) logged 6 2/3 innings on 102 pitches, gave up 5 hits, 1 unearned run, walked 2, and struck out 7.

After two walks put the tying and lead run on base, Lemonis turned to sidearmer Cam Schuelke, who proceeded to pitch 2 1/3 innings of shutout ball, his most dramatic victim being all-everything hitter Charlie Condon, who came in seemingly leading the nation in nearly all categories except perhaps orbits in space.

Condon came to bat, a serious threat to make it a 4-2 game and Georgia lead, but instead hit a weak bouncer back to Schuelke on the first pitch that was underhanded to Hines at first to end the inning and the threat.

Georgia went in order in the 8th against Schuelke, and in the 9th, a leadoff walk was negated by a double play, Amani Larry at 2nd to David Mershon at SS, to Hines at 1b, that ended the game and brought Schuelke his second save.

The teams play again Saturday night at 7:00 CDT, when switch pitcher Jurrangelo Cijntje (saint-juh) is expected to start for State.

A special ceremony is scheduled at Dudy Noble Field on Saturday afternoon, however, as the 2024 Class of the Ron Polk Ring of Honor is enshrined, featuring 1922-1924 infielder/17-year MLB star Buddy Myer, 1987-1990 pitcher Bobby Reed (24-0 career record at home), and 1979-present broadcaster Jim Ellis. Follow College Baseball Central on X @CollegeBaseCNT for video coverage of the ceremony.

Here are post-game comments from Head Coach Chris Lemonis:

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