(ISN) – STARKVILLE, MISS. – Mississippi State scored six unearned runs in the second and despite a late rally by 13th ranked South Carolina, the Gamecocks were defeated 7-5 on Friday afternoon at Dudy Noble Field. The Gamecocks drop to 20-11 and 5-6 in league play with Mississippi State 21-12 and 5-6 in the SEC.
South Carolina went ahead 1-0 in the top of the second inning. Elliott Caldwell led off with a triple off the wall in right-center and scored on Alex Destino’s RBI groundout. After the top of the second inning, pouring rain hit the Starkville area and the game was delayed 53 minutes. When the game ensued in the bottom of the second, Mississippi state put a pair of runners on base with two outs. With runners on first and second base, John Holland knocked a grounder to shortstop Jordan Gore, who went for the out at second base but threw wide and past Schrock. Both runners scored and MSU took a 2-1 lead. With momentum shifted, Mississippi State connected with three more hits to gain a 6-1 advantage on the Gamecocks.
South Carolina got a run back in the third as Max Schrock doubled with two outs and scored on Kyle Martin’s RBI single.
Trailing 7-2 entering the seventh inning, the Gamecocks cut the deficit to four runs again on a solo homer by DC Arendas to center field. Carolina would fight back with two more in the eighth inning. Gore led off with a single, Martin drew a one-out walk and Gore scored on Elliott Caldwell’s double down the left field line. Destino would tally his second RBI of the game on a groundout to score Martin and cut the deficit to pair of runs.
MSU reliever Trevor Fitts pitched 1.2 perfect innings of relief and set down all five batters he faced including all three in the ninth to close out the game for the Bulldogs. It was his fifth save of the year. Preston Brown allowed five runs on 10 hits in 7.1 innings with a walk and five strikeouts to earn the win. He is 4-3 on the year. Gamecock left-hander Jack Wynkoop suffered the loss and is 4-3 for the season. He allowed seven runs, one earned, on 14 hits in 6.1 innings with a walk and four strikeouts.
MSU’s six-run bottom of the second inning.
Brown, Vickerson and Humphreys all tallied two-out RBI singles to score four of the six runs in the bottom of the 2nd inning.
· Caldwell’s triple in the second inning was his team-leading fourth of the year.
· Arendas’ solo homer in the seventh inning was his first homer of the year.
· Schrock, Martin, Caldwell, and Koch all tallied two hits to lead the Gamecocks at the plate.
South Carolina Head Coach Chad Holbrook
On the second inning error
“It’s a play (Jordan) makes 99 out of 100 times. I think he would be the first to tell you he has got to make the play. It impacted the game, but we also could have fought back from that. We opened the floodgates and you have to credit (MSU) for taking advantage of the opportunity.”
On momentum from offensive output on Saturday
“I hope so. We had three guys with two hits apiece in the middle of the lineup. There is no solace. This program isn’t built on moral victories or fighting hard and coming up short. We just have to strap it on again tomorrow and see if we can change our fortune.”
The series concludes on Saturday at 3 p.m. ET. It will be televised on SEC Network Plus and it can also be heard on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM “The Game.”