Husjak’s walk-off homer lifts Mississippi State over Ole Miss in SEC Tournament elimination game

Published 11:26 pm Tuesday, May 21, 2024

HOOVER, Ala. — Connor Husjak’s first hit in two weeks was one that will be remembered in Starkville — and Oxford — for quite a while.

The Mississippi State center fielder hit a two-run walk-off home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Bulldogs a 2-1 victory in a first-round elimination game at the Southeastern Conference Tournament on Tuesday.

Husjak hadn’t played since May 5 because of a back injury and missed the Bulldogs’ last seven regular-season games. He was hitless in his first three at-bats against Ole Miss, then sent the first pitch he saw into the Rebels’ bullpen for the game-winning home run.

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David Mershon walked to lead off the ninth, and was on third base when Husjak went deep.

“It’s my first game back and I’m just trying to keep it simple. Look for the fastball and get it at the belt and that’s what I got. I didn’t miss it,” Husjak said.

Husjak’s homer ended a tight, brisk pitchers’ duel that only took 2 hours and 10 minutes to complete. Ole Miss starter Riley Maddox pitched seven-plus innings, allowing three hits and no walks while striking out seven. Mississippi State’s Brooks Auger went eight innings and allowed three hits while racking up 13 strikeouts. Auger did not walk a batter.

One of Ole Miss’ hits off Auger accounted for the game’s other run. Will Furniss hit a solo home run off of him in the fifth inning that hit off of Husjak’s glove and went over the center field fence.

The Rebels and Bulldogs combined for just seven hits in the game.

Mississippi State (37-19), which is hoping to secure a spot as a regional host for the NCAA Tournament, advanced to the SEC Tournament’s double-elimination round. It’ll face No. 4 seed Texas A&M in Wednesday’s late game, which will start at approximately 8 p.m. All tournament games except the championship will be televised on the SEC Network.

Ole Miss (27-29) needed to win the SEC Tournament to secure an NCAA bid, but had its season end instead. The Rebels have now missed the NCAA Tournament each of the past two years after winning the national championship in 2022.