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Quick recap: Mississippi State 13, St. John’s 5

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With Mississippi State’s season on the precipice for the first time, the Bulldogs’ bats came alive all at once.

MSU had a season-high 19 hits and scored multiple runs in five different innings in a 13-5 win over St. John’s on Sunday in the Charlottesville Regional, advancing the Bulldogs to the regional final against host and No. 12 seed Virginia.

A night after the Cavaliers beat MSU 5-4 in the winners tournament, the two teams will meet again on Sunday night. The Bulldogs need two wins to advance to the super regionals; Virginia, just one.

Dakota Jordan has officially emerged from his season-ending slump, reaching base in all six of his at-bats with five hits and a walk, highlighted by a three-run home run in the ninth inning that hit 450 feet from the landed at home plate. . The first two batters in the MSU batting order, Amani Larry and David Mershon, each had three hits, with Mershon hitting a two-run homer in the sixth.

The Bulldogs (40-22) put up their first lopsided number in the third, mounting a four-run rally on a leadoff double by Aaron Downs. Joe Powell and Larry followed with singles to score the game’s first run, and after Mershon bounced into a double play that scored another run but cleared the bases, MSU added two more in the inning on RBI singles by Connor Hujsak and Bryce Chance.

Jordan and Hunter Hines each delivered runscoring singles an inning later to extend the lead to 6-0. Chance and Hines each scored two runs, with Chance adding three hits. Logan Kohler, who had three extra-base hits against the Red Storm on Friday night, was the only MSU starter who did not hit safely on Sunday afternoon.

Brooks Auger may not have repeated his eight-inning, one-run performance against Ole Miss from his last start in the Southeastern Conference Tournament, but he was solid and held St. John’s (38-18-1) to three runs (two earned) in 4 1/3 innings. Cam Schuelke pitched the rest of the game, working his way out of a mess in the fifth and pitching a season-high 4 2/3 innings. He scattered five hits, but allowed just one earned run.

Takeaways

1. If the Bulldogs can keep hitting like this, watch out. Head coach Chris Lemonis said before the regional that Jordan and Hines had never really been hot at the same time this season. Both seem locked in at the plate right now, and if MSU can continue to get quality at-bats from Larry, Mershon and Chance, the Bulldogs might be able to take two of them from the Cavaliers.

2. The pitching staff is in good shape, all things considered. MSU has used just two pitchers in each of its first three games this weekend, with left-hander Pico Kohn lining up Sunday night. Top relievers Tyler Davis and Tyson Hardin should be available, and Nate Dohm has yet to pitch in the region. Virginia used its top two starters in the first two games and may be short on depth going forward, even though the Cavaliers have played just twice so far.

3. Defense can make a big difference. Mershon, in particular, was brilliant in the field on Sunday, turning in an impressive double play in the second inning by showing off his reach and flipping the ball to Larry with his glove. Hujsak and Chance each took a home run away from a Virginia hitter later in the game by reaching over the short outfield wall, and Larry made a sliding stop on second for the final out in the fourth.

Mississippi State Baseball MSU

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Quick recap: Mississippi State 13, St. John’s 5

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