Mississippi State worked 17 innings for a win over Missouri Tuesday night. The Bulldogs didn’t have to work as long Wednesday night, but it took their last at bat again to pull out the victory. The Bulldogs broke a 3-3 tie in the top of the 9th by scoring twice off relievers Adam Westmoreland and Tyler Webb to beat the Gamecocks 5-3.
The Gamecocks fall into the loser’s bracket and will face top seed Vanderbilt in Thursday’s second game. Mississippi State advances to the winner’s bracket and will take on Texas A&M Thursday night.
The Bulldogs loaded the bases with one out against Westmoreland. Webb then entered the game and promptly yielded a RBI single to Wes Rea, his third hit of the night. The Gamecocks foiled an attempted squeeze bunt for the second out of the inning. But Demarcus Henderson provided an insurance run with an RBI single to left. The inning ended when third baseman Chase Vergason was interfered with while attempting to field a ground ball.
In the bottom of the ninth, Graham Saiko singled with one out bringing Vergason to the plate as the tying run, but he flied to center. Joey Pankake was the Gamecocks’ last hope and he ended the game with a pop up to short.
Mississippi State took a quick 2-0 lead off Gamecock starter Nolan Belcher as five base runners reached in the first. Rea and Henderson had RBI singles. The Bulldogs made it a 3-0 game in the third with a lead off double by Brett Pirtle, a sacrifice bunt by Rea and a sacrifice fly to center by Henderson.
State had a chance to blow the game open in the fourth loading the bases with one out. But Belcher induced Hunter Renfroe to pop up into foul territory down the first base line, and leftfielder Saiko made a diving stab of a sinking liner by Pirtle to end the threat.
The Gamecocks tied the game with three runs in the fourth off Bulldog starter Luis Pollorena. Back to back singles by Pankake and LB Dantzler followed by a walk to Grayson Greiner loaded the bases with one out. Max Schrock also drew a walk to force in the Gamecocks’ first run. Brison Celek then tied the game with a sharp single up the middle. Freshman Myles Gentry replaced Poilorena and struck out Connor Bright and Tanner English to end the inning with runners on first and second.
The Gamecocks threatened in the fifth. With one out, Vergason walked and Pankake hit a grounder to short. Adam Frazier threw wild of second trying to get Vergason putting runners on the corners. But Dantzler and Greiner struck out to end the inning.
The Gamecocks also had runners in scoring position in the seventh and eighth innings but could not push across a run. Gentry worked the final 5.2 innings and struck out a career tying 8 while allowing just three hits and no runs.
Gentry earned the win to improve to 4-0 and Westmoreland took the loss and is 7-2.
The Gamecocks fall to 39-17 and will send out lefthander Jordan Montgomery to face Vandy junior lefthander Kevin Ziomek who is 10-2 with a 1.99 ERA. Ziomek beat the Gamecocks 3-2 in Columbia May 3rd scattering eight hits and allowing one run.