No. 11 USC avoids sweep vs. No. 21 Mississippi State
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Sophomore right-hander Adam Hill limited Mississippi State to just one run on four hits and a five-run eighth inning was enough to lift South Carolina to a 6-1 win over the Bulldogs. The Gamecocks improve to 22-13 on the year and 8-7 in league play with MSU falling to 25-13 overall and 10-5 in the SEC.
Senior left-hander Josh Reagan earned the win in relief after allowing only two hits with one strikeout in two innings of relief. He is now 4-1 on the year. Freshman left-hander Trysten Barlow suffered the loss and is now 0-2 on the season. He gave up two runs on one hit with one walk in 0.1 innings of relief.
With the game tied at 1-1 heading into the eighth inning, Carolina added five runs on three singles and a double to take a 6-1 lead and junior right-hander Tyler Johnson closed out the game with two strikeouts in the top of the ninth.
Mississippi State would go ahead 1-0 in the sixth inning. Jake Mangum led off with a double to center, Brent Rooker was intentionally walked and Ryan Gridley doubled to right field to give the Bulldogs the first run of the game.
Carlos Cortes evened the score in the bottom of the sixth with a solo shot to right field, his third of the series and fourth homer of the season.
South Carolina went ahead 6-1 in the bottom of the eighth inning. Jacob Olson led off with a single to left field, Cortes walked and Chris Cullen set down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners in scoring position. Alex Destino was intentionally walked to load the bases for Jonah Bride, who lifted a sacrifice fly to right field and give the Gamecocks a one-run lead. LT Tolbert singled up the middle to score Cortes and Destino then went on to steal second and be driven in by a double from Matt Williams. Madison Stokes got in on the action to add the final run of the inning as he knocked in Williams with a single to center.
GAME CHANGER The Gamecocks five-run eighth inning, highlighted by three singles and a double, giving Carolina a five run cushion.
KEY STAT South Carolina sent all nine batters in the order to the plate in the eighth inning as the Gamecocks scored five runs in the frame.
• Chris Cullen has successfully reached base in 12 consecutive games. He went 1-for-3 at the plate with a single.
• Carlos Cortes recorded his fourth home run of the season and 17th RBI of the year. He went 1-for-3 at the plate with one RBI.
• Madison Stokes tied his career high hits with three, the second time this season and sixth time of his career. He led the Gamecocks at the plate as he went 3-for-4 with one RBI.
Head Coach Chad Holbrook "Obviously it was a big relief for us to win this one today after how we lost the first two. Live to fight another day, keep our head above water in the SEC. I think that's why it was significant game. It was great to see Adam [Hill], Josh [Reagan], and Tyler [Johnson] throw the way that they did, it was terrific and we needed it. If we would have given up more than one run inning there in the early innings it would have been tough on our team because I don't know if our psyche was in the best spot. But we got some momentum there in the eighth and it feels good to get Tyler out there when we got a lead. He threw terrifically. We got some big hits from Madison [Stokes] and obviously Carlos [Cortes] tied the game up with another home run. We did some really good situational hitting there in the fifth after getting a bunt down which is a nice change. We'll take it and hopefully this will create some momentum for us and springboard us into an important week."
The Gamecocks are back in action on Tuesday, April 16 as they host Davidson at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on SEC Network+ and is also available on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, "The Game."