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Volunteers Edge Bulldogs 6-5 As Hujsak, Jordan Deliver Key Hits



By Doug Kyle


The Tennessee Volunteers, 2024 Southeastern Conference Baseball co-champions and the #1 seed in the SEC Tournament, were ultimately a little too much for Mississippi State to handle Friday night. But, boy did they get all they wanted and all they could handle, as State rallied from a 3-0 deficit to take a 5-3 lead, only to see the Volunteers tie the game on a throwing error, then take the final lead on a leadoff solo home run. A bases-loaded hit-by-pitch from David Mershon and two-run hits from both Connor Hujsak and Dakota Jordan were all key plays in the 5-run rally.


The momentum and rooting interest was almost like watching a Rocky movie, as the underdog landed blows to the Champ and brought about a few moments of incredulity at the occurrence. There was even a moment when it appeared there might be some actual sparring occur, but order was restored and fortunately, there was no long delay while someone somewhere reviewed video and handed out suspensions willy nilly.


Many college baseball observers believe the Bulldogs have done enough and shown enough during the season and into the SECT to demonstrate their worthiness of hosting an NCAA regional. It really boils down to with whom one is conversing, neutral parties or one with a vested interest either for or against the SEC.


It'll all come out in the wash on Sunday, when 16 host sites, that carry corresponding #1 seeds, are announced, with breathes held and fingers crossed that Starkville, MS will be on the coveted list. For now, the Bulldogs are headed home, with the hope they'll not have to leave when next week arrives. Just to be on the safe and prepared side, Mississippi State Athletics was accepting provisional orders this week from season ticket holders who wished to purchase tournament tickets.


And back in Hoover, Tennessee won itself another shot at rival Vanderbilt, to whom it lost already this week, 13-4. They'll be the only upper seed left, as the other three left in contention for Sunday's Championship game are 10 seed South Carolina, 11 seed LSU and 8 seed Vanderbilt. With that many lower seeds having such strong resumes, there is also speculation the SEC will garner a record 11 bids to the NCAA tournament field that will be announced Monday, Memorial Day.


Here are comments from Centerfielder Connor Hujsak and Head Coach Chris Lemonis:



(photo and video courtesy of the Southeastern Conference)


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