No. 9 South Carolina’s offense sputtered at times against Mississippi State on Thursday, but they did enough to come away with a 6-4 win in the series opener.
The Bulldogs got on the board first, taking a 1-0 lead in the third on a single by Hunter Hines. The Gamecocks tied the game in the next inning, when Michael Braswell led off with a double and later scored on a two-out double by Dylan Brewer, making it 1-1.
USC took the lead in the fifth, making the score 2-1 when Ethan Petry homered to start the inning. Cole Messina followed with a single and later came home on a Braswell double, putting the Cocks up 3-1. MSU retied the game in the bottom of the inning, courtesy of a two-run shot by Colton Ledbetter that made it 3-3.
Carolina took the lead back for good in the seventh, when Petry started things off with a single and Messina went yard to give them a 5-3 lead. Both teams’ final runs of the game came in the ninth. In the top of the inning, Caleb Denny walked with one out and later scored on a single by Brewer, pushing hthe lead to 6-3. The Bulldogs got their run after Kellum Clark knocked a base hit to lead off and came home when Lane Forsythe hit into a double play.
Gamecocks starter Eli Jones worked four innings and allowed three hits and one run. He walked one batter and struck two out. James Hicks, Chris Veach, and Cade Austin also pitched in this game, and Hicks got the win, making him 4-0, while Austin earned this save, his first of the season. Mississippi State starter Jurrangelo Cijntje went five innings and gave up six hits and three runs. He also issued two walks and struck out nine batters. Reliever Colby Holcombe took the loss and is now 1-1.
Brewer led South Carolina at the plate with three hits, and he and Messina each tallied two RBI. Ledbetter had three hits to pace the Bulldogs and recorded two RBI.
The Cocks improve to 25-2 on the season and 7-0 in conference play, the best start to SEC play in school history, while MSU is now 15-12 overall and 0-7 in conference play. They’ll meet again on Friday, with first pitch set for 7 p.m.