USC baseball was riding high entering game two of its series at Mississippi State. The Gamecocks were 7-0 in league play, setting a program record for the best start to SEC action. On Friday night, the Bulldogs stuck a pin in that balloon by run-ruling the Gamecocks 13-3 in 7 innings at Dudy Noble Field. In ending Carolina’s unbeaten streak, the Bulldogs picked up their first conference win, exorcising some SEC demons in the process.
Friday’s game started as though the Gamecocks would have no worries about improving to 8-0 in the league. Braylen Wimmer deposited the first pitch of the ballgame into the seats in right field to put Carolina in front 1-0. USC (25-3/7-1) had an opportunity to add to its early advantage as the Gamecocks positioned runners at first and second with nobody out, following Wimmer’s home run. But Cole Messina lined out and Michael Braswell flew into a double play to end the threat and give MSU a little life heading to the bottom of the first.
And seize the momentum the Bulldogs did, as they promptly tied the game at 1-1 on an RBI single by Dakota Jordan. Then the Bulldogs opened the floodgates in the bottom of the third.
MSU (16-12/1-7) scored four runs in the third, chasing USC starter Noah Hall in the process. The senior right-hander gave up back-to-back home runs as well as a double before allowing an RBI single to Slate Alford to increase the Bulldogs’ advantage to 5-1. Alford was the last batter that Hall would face, as he worked just two and two-thirds innings, allowing five runs on nine hits with two strikeouts and one walk. The short stint on the mound produced Hall’s first loss of the season (5-1) in his seventh start of the year. Head coach Mark Kingston said in the postgame that Hall was “dealing with some back issues and he wasn’t himself.”
Mississippi State delighted the home fans by scoring in every inning but the second. The Bulldogs plated another run in the fourth, four more in the fifth, and the final three runs in the sixth.
The rubber game of the series is scheduled for Saturday at 3pm ET in Starkville, Mississippi.