STARKVILLE, Miss. — No. 5 Mississippi State’s lineup churned out four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning before five more runs were plated in the eighth, as the Diamond Dawgs ran away to another Southeastern Conference series win with an 11-2 Senior Day win over South Carolina Friday night at Dudy Noble Field.
MSU (45-10, 20-9 SEC) was down 2-0 after three innings, but the Dawgs tied things up at 2-2 in the fourth inning before nine combined runs came across to score in the seventh and eighth innings. South Carolina (27-27, 7-22 SEC) was limited to just two runs in the third inning.
With the win, head coach Chris Lemonis becomes the winningest first-year head coach in SEC history.
After a five-hit effort on Thursday, sophomore Tanner Allen’s bat stayed hot, as Allen turned in a 4-for-5 night with three RBIs and one run scored. Sophomore Josh Hatcher was responsible for a team-high four RBIs on 2-for-4 hitting, which included two home runs in the contest. Sophomores Rowdey Jordan and Justin Foscue also chipped in with two-hit, one-RBI performances.
State starter JT Ginn struck out eight batters and allowed two runs on three hits in a six-inning no-decision. He also walked three batters.
A single from South Carolina’s Chris Cullen began the top of the third inning. A sacrifice bunt from freshman Jonah Beamon put two runners on before a sacrifice fly moved Cullen over to third. The bases were then loaded when Ginn surrendered a walk to sophomore Andrew Eyster. Two wild pitches ultimately allowed the Gamecocks to take a 2-0 lead after three innings.
Back-to-back singles from Allen and Foscue began State’s half of the fourth inning. Allen was then out at third on a fielder’s choice, but junior Dustin Skelton was able to reach first safely. Rowdey Jordan singled and scored Foscue before stealing second to put runners on second and third. An RBI groundout from Hatcher scored Skelton to tie things up at 2-2.
Thanks to three hits and three Gamecock errors, MSU was able to score four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to take a 6-2 lead. Hatcher led off with one of his two home runs on the night to give State a 3-2 lead. Freshman Landon Jordan then reached first on a fielding error before he stole second and advanced to third on another South Carolina error. A third Gamecock error in the inning allowed senior Marshall Gilbert to reach first and Jordan to score. An RBI single from sophomore Jordan Westburg then plated Gilbert. The final run of the inning came when Allen doubled to left center to score Westburg.
The Dawgs added five more runs in the eighth inning to take an 11-2 lead. R. Jordan drew a leadoff walk before Hatcher plated two runs on one swing of the bat with a homer to center field. Junior Gunner Halter then came in to pinch hit for L. Jordan and drew a walk. A pair of strikeouts followed before Westburg drew a walk to put two runners on. Two runs came across to score when Allen tripled to right center. Foscue followed up with a double to plate Allen.
The Gamecocks manged a pair of singles in the ninth inning, but that was all, as State went on to win the SEC series.
Junior right-hander Colby White (3-1) earned the win after tossing a one-walk, two-strikeout scoreless seventh inning. Senior Jared Liebelt then tossed a clean eighth inning with two strikeouts. Freshman Brandon Smith pitched the ninth inning and allowed no runs on two hits.
Junior right-hander Reid Morgan (4-6) was charged with the South Carolina loss after allowing six runs (three earned) on eight hits in seven innings of work. He struck out four batters.
The Diamond Dawgs will look for the sweep in the regular season finale Saturday afternoon beginning at 1 p.m. CT at Dudy Noble Field. It will be televised by SEC Network+.