Bulldogs fall to Vanderbilt and into SEC Tournament’s losers’ bracket

Published 9:23 am Friday, May 24, 2024

HOOVER, Ala. — Mississippi State ran out of late night magic.

The Bulldogs scored twice in the bottom of the ninth inning to pull within a run, but couldn’t finish their comeback as they lost 4-3 to Vanderbilt in the Southeastern Conference Tournament Thursday night.

Vanderbilt (38-210) earned a day off and a bye into the semifinals on Saturday, while Mississippi State (38-20) will play an elimination game at 6:30 p.m. Friday against No. 1 seed Tennessee.

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The Mississippi State-Tennessee winner will play Vanderbilt Saturday at 3:30 p.m..

Mississippi State won its first two tournament games by scoring the winning runs in the ninth inning, but couldn’t make it three in a row.

Trailing 4-1 entering the bottom of the ninth, the first two Bulldog batters were retired before three consecutive hits pulled them within a run and put the tying run on first base. David Mershon singled and scored on Connor Hujsak’s triple, and then Hujsak scored on a base hit by Nate Chester.

Logan Kohler then grounded out to second, however, to end the game.

Mershon and Hujsak finished with two hits apiece for Mississippi State. Hujsak had driven in the winning runs against Ole Miss and Texas A&M in the Bulldogs’ first two tournament victories, and provided another clutch hit in the ninth inning against Vanderbilt.

MSU starter Jurrangelo Cijntje had 10 strikeouts in six innings. Reliever Cam Schuelke pitched two scoreless innings and had three strikeouts.

Davis Diaz hit a two-run single in the third inning for Vanderbilt, and Calvin Hewett was 2-for-3 with an RBI single.