STARKVILLE, Miss. — No. 5 Mississippi State baseball piled on 24 runs on 22 hits in a 24-7 opening-series win over South Carolina Thursday night at Dudy Noble Field.
MSU (44-10, 19-9 SEC) scored four runs in the bottom of the third inning, five in the fourth inning, seven in the fifth inning, two in the sixth inning, one in the seventh inning and five in the eighth inning. South Carolina (27-26, 7-21 SEC) scored a run in the first and third innings, a run in the sixth and four in the ninth.
Offensively, sophomore Tanner Allen led the Dawgs at the plate, going 5-for-5 and drawing a walk. He brought home three RBIs and came across to score four times. Sophomore Rowdey Jordan and freshman Landon Jordan also left their marks with three hits apiece. Rowdey was responsible for three RBIs and two runs scored, while Landon was responsible for two RBIs and one run scored, which included his first career home run.
Sophomore Justin Foscue, senior Marshall Gilbert and sophomore Josh Hatcher also chipped in with two hits apiece. Eleven different State hitters collected hits, 12 scored at least one run and 10 drove in at least one RBI in the contest.
Redshirt-junior lefty Ethan Small (8-1) earned the win after allowing two runs on three hits in five innings pitched. He fanned seven batters and surrendered three walks.
Back-to-back one-out doubles from South Carolina’s TJ Hopkins and Andrew Eyster made it a 1-0 game after one inning. Hopkins then drew a two-out walk in the top of the third inning before Eyster brought him home with an RBI double down the left field line to make it 2-0.
MSU then took a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the third inning. The first five Diamond Dawgs reached base, as Hatcher began the inning off by reaching first on an error. Gilbert then hit a single, which was followed by a hit-by-pitch from senior Jake Mangum to load the bases. Two runs were scored when sophomore Jordan Westburg and Allen drew a pair of bases loaded walks. Another run was scored when Foscue grounded into a double play to plate Mangum. A walk to junior Dustin Skelton then put runners on first and second before Rowdey Jordan’s line drive was dropped by the second baseman, which allowed Westburg to score from second.
Hatcher led off the bottom of the fourth inning with his first home run of the season to give MSU a 5-2 lead. After a strikeout, Mangum singled to center field and advanced to second on a wild pitch before Westburg’s single through the left side scored him. After Allen singled to left center to put two runners on, Foscue plated one run with a double. Two more runs were scored in the inning on a two-RBI single from Rowdey Jordan to give State a 9-2 lead.
A seven-run fifth inning, which was highlighted by a grand slam from Skelton, gave the Diamond Dawgs a 16-2 lead. Back-to-back singles from Hatcher and Gilbert began the inning before a wild pitch put runners on second and third. Mangum then grounded into a fielder’s choice to score the first run of the inning before Westburg was hit by a pitch. Allen followed with a two-RBI single before Foscue’s infield base hit loaded the bases. That’s when Skelton hit his second grand slam of the season to left-center field.
A trio of singles in the top of the sixth loaded the bases with one out for the Gamecocks. An RBI groundout by freshman Brady Allen then made it a 16-3 ballgame.
The first MSU run in the bottom half of the sixth came from a solo home run to right field from Landon Jordan, his first home run on the year. The other run of the inning came when Mangum reached on an error by the second baseman, a double from Allen moved him to third and a sacrifice fly from junior Gunner Halter scored him to push the MSU lead to 18-3. The Dawgs added a run to their lead in the bottom of the seventh on an RBI single from Landon Jordan, which scored Rowdey Jordan.
Back-to-back doubles from Allen and Halter started the bottom of the eighth inning, with Halter’s double scoring Allen. Halter then advanced to third on a wild pitch before Rowdey Jordan’s single through the left side scored him. Freshman Luke Hancock was hit by a pitch to score another run. Three more runs came across to score when Cumbest hit a three-run home run to center field to give State a 24-3 lead.
Four RBI singles from South Carolina in the top of the ninth ended to game’s scoring to give MSU a 24-7 opening-series win.
After five innings of work from Small, four relievers pitched an inning apiece. Junior Riley Self allowed one run on three hits. Freshman Eric Cerantola pitched a hit-less seventh inning, where he struck out three batters and walked one. Redshirt-junior Spencer Price also pitched a hit-less inning with one walk. Freshman Bryce Brock then allowed the four ninth inning runs on six hits. He walked one batter and struck out three.
Freshman right-hander Cam Tringali (2-4) was charged with the Gamecock loss. He allowed nine runs (six earned) on eight hits. He struck out two batters and surrendered three walks.
MSU and South Carolina will be back on the field Friday for a 6:30 p.m. CT first pitch. State will also honor its seniors prior to first pitch at Dudy Noble Field. The game will be televised by SEC Network+.