April 3, 2010
Columbia, S.C. - Mississippi State scored five runs in the first three innings and held off a late rally by South Carolina to defeat the Gamecocks 8-7 on Saturday afternoon at Carolina Stadium. MSU is now 15-12 and 3-5 in the SEC while the loss drops the Gamecocks to 21-6 and 6-2 in conference play. The rubber game is scheduled for Easter Sunday with first pitch at 2 p.m. and the game televised live on ESPNU. Live audio broadcast is also available on the Gamecock Radio Network.
MSU starter Chris Stratton worked five-plus innings to earn the win. He is 3-3 on the year. He allowed three runs on eight hits with two strikeouts and five walks. Carolina starter Sam Dyson suffered the loss and is now 2-1 on the year. He allowed five runs on eight hits with three strikeouts and no walks.
Mississippi State got to Dyson early with three runs in the top of the first inning. Luke Adkins singled to open the game followed by a double by Jet Butler to right field. A strange play would then make the bases loaded as Connor Powers reached base. On a short grounder back to Dyson on the mound, the Gamecocks tried to nab Adkins in a run down. He, however, made it back to third base without being tagged and the rest of the runners remained safe at first and second base making the bags full for the Bulldogs. With one out, Ryan Collins laced a two-run double down the left field line to put MSU on the scoreboard. MSU went ahead 3-0 on a sacrifice fly by Ryan Duffy. MSU added a run in the second inning with Jet Butler driving in Jonathan Ogden on a RBI groundout.
South Carolina put a run on the board in the bottom of the second inning. Jeffery Jones led off with a single followed by base hits by Adam Matthews and Evan Marzilli to load the bases with no outs. MSU starter Chris Stratton battled though as he struck out Kyle Enders for the first out of the inning. Carolina then scored the team's first run of the game as Bobby Haney knocked a sacrifice fly to left field to score Jones. Mississippi State made it 5-1 in the third inning with Cody Freeman driving in Ryan Collins.
South Carolina struck back in the fifth and sixth innings with single runs. In the fifth, Jeffery Jones singled with one out in the fifth followed by a walk to Matthews and a two-out walk to pinch hitter Michael Roth. With Christian Walker also pinch hitting; Stratton knocked Walker for a hit by pitch scoring Jones. Stratton got out of the bases loaded jam though getting Scott Wingo to ground out to end a Carolina threat. In the sixth, Merrifield connected for a solo home run cutting the MSU lead to two runs.
State got some important insurance with a run in the seventh and two in the eighth. Freeman delivered with a key two-out RBI single and Collins drove in two more runs with a two-out RB single as well as the Bulldogs went ahead by five runs.
Carolina fought back again in the bottom of the eighth. Scott Wingo opened the frame with a single followed by a base hit by Whit Merrifield. Jackie Bradley Jr. then would drive a RBI base hit to left center that scored Wingo. Both Bradley and Merrifield then cut the deficit to two runs as Brady Thomas knocked a RBI double down the left field line. With runners on first and third and one out, Adrian Morales knocked in Thomas with a RBI fielder's choice. MSU reliever Devin Jones got out of the jam against pinch hitter Nick Ebert with a groundout that ended the eighth inning.
Mississippi State with an 8-7 lead went to their closer Ben Bracewell in the bottom of the ninth. He retired the Gamecocks in order with a pair of strikeouts and a groundout to pick up his third save of the season.
South Carolina lost despite finishing with a 12-10 advantage in hits. Merrifield was 3-for-6 with two runs scored. He extended his hitting streak to 14 games and has now hit safely in 26 of 27 games. Bradley, Thomas and Jones also tallied two hits apiece. MSU was led by a 3-for-5 day at the plate for both Luke Adkins and Ryan Collins.
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