Second ranked South Carolina batted around in the fourth and fifth innings to score nine runs on its way to a 13-4 win over Mississippi State to win the rubber game of a three-game SEC baseball series. Carolina is 31-8 and 14-4 in the SEC while MSU drops to 24-16 and 7-11 in the SEC.
Down 3-2 entering the top of the fourth, the Gamecocks made their move, batting around to score four runs on five hits and take a three-run lead. All four runs in the fourth would come with two outs. With runners on first and third, Christian Walker got it started as he singled up the middle to score Robert Beary tying the game at 3-3. Brady Thomas gave the Gamecocks the lead with a single to left field that was followed by RBI base hits from Jake Williams and Adrian Morales that extended Carolina’s lead to three runs. That offensive output continued in the fifth as Carolina batted around for the second straight inning, this time scoring five runs to go ahead 11-3 on the Bulldogs. Wingo tallied a RBI sacrifice fly with the bases loaded. With one out and the bags still full, Thomas drove in three more runs with a triple down the right field line. Jake Williams added a RBI double as Carolina went ahead 11-3 on MSU.
That was enough for the Gamecock bullpen as John Taylor and Matt Price took the Gamecocks the rest of the way to a seven-run win over Mississippi State. Senior reliever John Taylor got the win after four innings of relief allowing one run on four hits with three strikeouts and a walk. He is 3-1 on the year. Price came in and hurled 2.1 scoreless innings with four strikeouts to close the game out for Carolina. MSU reliever Devin Jones suffered the loss and is 2-5 on the year. He allowed four runs on three hits in 0.2 innings.
The Gamecocks exploded for 18 hits, a team-high in SEC games on Sunday afternoon. Christian Walker was 4-for-4 with three runs scored and four RBI, including a two-run homer in the ninth inning. For the weekend, Walker reached base 15 times in 16 plate appearances. He hit .909 (10-for-11) with four RBI and six runs scored vs. Mississippi State in three games. Jake Williams had a 4-for-6 day at the plate with a double and two RBI. Scott Wingo drove in two runs and also scored three times. In his first career start, DeSean Anderson was 3-for-4 with two doubles and a run scored. Eight of nine Gamecock starters had at least one hit.
South Carolina played without its entire starting outfield from Opening Day. Junior outfielder Adam Matthews did not make the trip after a re-strain of his hamstring last week. Junior outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. sustained an injury to his left wrist in Saturday’s game at Mississippi State. He was evaluated by MSU orthopedists and will have a follow-up with University of South Carolina physicians on Monday. He has not had an MRI yet. South Carolina sophomore outfielder Evan Marzilli was seen by physicians on Saturday night and will be evaluated on Monday by University of South Carolina physicians. He has a medical condition. HIPAA precludes any additional information. Do not foresee any long-term issues for Marzilli.
“I’m very proud of our team,” said South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner. “Of all the games I have been involved in, this game means a lot to me, by the way we went after it.”
South Carolina broke out of the gates in the top of the first inning to take a 2-0 lead. Peter Mooney singled, stole second base and scored on Scott Wingo’s triple off the wall in right field. Christian Walker added a RBI sacrifice fly to center field scoring Wingo and giving Carolina a two-run cushion.
Mississippi State scored three runs in the bottom of the third to take a one-run lead. Cody Freeman, Jarrod Parks and Trey Johnson all singled with one out including a RBI base hit from Johnson. With runners on the corners and one out, Wes Thigpen set down a perfect squeeze bunt to score Parks and tie the game. Ryan Collins’ RBI double to left-center gave MSU the 3-2 lead. MSU had 12 hits in the game with Collins 3-for-4. C.T. Bradford, Cody Freeman and Jarrod Parks had two hits apiece as well to lead MSU.
South Carolina returns to action on Tuesday night hosting Liberty in a non-conference tilt. First pitch at Carolina Stadium is at 1 p.m.