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No. 19 MSU Edges No. 24 Georgia 9-8

A crowd of 11,337 at Polk-Dement Stadium watched 19th-ranked Mississippi State rally past No. 24 Georgia 9-8 Sunday to win an SEC series.


Trailing 8-7 in the eighth, MSU tied the game on Georgia’s third error of the afternoon as a potential double play grounder skipped off Slate Alford’s glove and bounced into the outfield. Then, a sacrifice fly by Bryce Chance proved to be the game-winning run as MSU improved to 21-12 overall, 6-6 in the SEC. Georgia dropped to 24-8, 5-7 in the SEC.


“You hear sometimes that teams don’t win games as much as the other team loses it, and I felt like that’s what happened today,” said Georgia’s Ike Cousins head baseball coach Wes Johnson. “I don’t know if they beat us as much as we gave it to them with a lot of miscues.  We have to clean that up. We gotta get that heartbeat back down when you’re in a environment like this, and we’ll get back home and work on it. We had a chance to win the game, and we didn’t play well enough to do it.”


It was an eventful third inning as the Bulldogs grabbed a 5-0 lead and then made a pair of errors in the outfield in the bottom of the frame that helped MSU score four runs to make it a one-run contest. Alford made it 1-0 with a run-scoring single and Kolby Branch tied a school record with his third grand slam of the season. It marked the eighth slam by the Bulldogs this year, which also ties a school record.  


MSU’s outburst started with a run-scoring single by Dakota Jordan and as centerfielder Charlie Condon ran up to field it, the ball went under his glove, allowing another run to score and Jordan to reach third. It was his first career error. Then with two outs, a fly ball to right field that would’ve ended the inning was dropped by Tre Phelps bringing a run around. State pushed one more run across to cap the scoring off Bulldog reliever Kolten Smith. In the fourth, State got a leadoff double, and Georgia maintained its edge as Smith picked up a strikeout and after a hit batter, the Bulldogs turned a double play on the speedy centerfielder David Mershon. It was the first that Mershon had hit into on the year. With two outs and nobody on in the fifth, senior Connor Hujsak tied the game with his sixth home run of the year.


Georgia took advantage of a MSU error to pull ahead 6-5 in the sixth. Sebastian Murillo reached on a miscue by Nate Chester. Murillo took third on Dylan Goldstein’s third hit of the afternoon. With two outs, Corey Collins laced a single to center to bring Murillo home and put the Bulldogs back in front. In the bottom of the sixth, MSU tied it once again. A one out, run-scoring double by Joe Powell ended Smith’s outing as the Bulldogs looked to DJ Radtke. He walked Amani Larry and Georgia turned to Blake Gillespie. He struck out Mershon and then Hunter put MSU in front 7-6 with an RBI-single.


Georgia reclaimed an 8-7 lead in the seventh as Chester made his second error of the day to allow Phelps to reach. Branch followed with base hit and Clayton Chadwick smacked a two-run double. Georgia dodged a massive bullet in the seventh as four different pitchers combined to walk four straight to start the frame and MSU failed to score. Fernando Gonzalez picked off Hujsak for the first out. Josh Roberge struck out Powell for the second out and got Larry to pop out to maintain an 8-7 edge. Roberge fell to 2-1 while Tyler Davis (3-0) got the win with three scoreless innings of relief.


After two straight SEC weekends on the road, Georgia returns to Foley Field Tuesday to begin an eight-game homestand.  The Bulldogs play host to Kennesaw State first and then have SEC series with Missouri and Ole Miss plus a single game with Clemson.


Tuesday’s first pitch against the Owls will be at 5:02 p.m. ET, and the game will be available on SEC Network+ and the Georgia Bulldog Sports Network.

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