Finally. After numerous games where USC has had a chance to rally and not gotten the job done, they finally came through tonight, scoring four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning and defeating the Bulldogs 7-6 in Columbia.
I slept through most of the game (thanks, allergies), and the first update I saw when I woke up said the Cocks were down 6-3. I was not thrilled. I went to take some medicine and get a snack, and by the time I saw the next update, they’d won 7-6. I won’t lie, I thought it was a typo at first. I’m glad I was wrong.
South Carolina got on the board first thanks to a three-run third inning, but Mississippi State responded and scored in the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings to take a 6-3 lead. In what some people on twitter called a turning point for the season, Carolina, trailing by three runs and with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, put together enough offense to take a lead, and then kept MSU off the board in the ninth to secure the victory.
Grayson Greiner went yard to start the rally, Adam Matthews and Brison Celek got base hits, and Sean Sullivan, pinch-hitting, sent a fly ball into right field, getting him ti third base and bringing in two runs. Bulldogs closer Caleb Reed threw a wild pitch, and though Tanner English had struck out, he reached first base because the ball got away from the catcher. That wild pitch also brought Sullivan home to give the Yardcocks the lead.
Closer Matt Price came on to shut things down in the ninth and did just that, allowing no hits, walks, or runs. He earned his second save of the season, and reliever Evan Beal, who pitched a perfect 1/3 of an inning, got the win, improving to 2-3 on the year. Fellow reliever Tyler Webb threw 2 1/3 innings and allowed one run on two hits, walked nobody, and K’d two batters. Starter Michael Roth went 5 1/3 innings and allowed five runs on five hits with three walks and two strikeouts. Reed got the loss for Mississippi State and drops to 0-5 on the season.
The second game of the series is scheduled to begin at 4 ET at Carolina Stadium. Jordan Montgomery, who earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors for his performance against Tennessee, will start on the mound for the Gamecocks and junior Kendall Graveman will get the nod for the Bulldogs.