Starkville, Miss. — Despite a pair of homers from senior first baseman LB Dantzler, the 14th-ranked Gamecocks fell, 7-2, to No. 24 Mississippi State in Southeastern conference play Saturday.
In the regular season finale, the Gamecocks (39-16, 17-12 SEC) allowed a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the second and the Bulldogs (40-16, 16-13) tacked on two more runs in the sixth and three in the eighth in the rubber game of a three-game series.
USC will be the No. 4 seed in Hoover, Ala., for the SEC tournament. The Gamecocks have a first-round bye and will play in the final game Wednesday against either No. 5 seed Mississippi State or No. 12 seed Missouri.
Mississippi State’s Ross Mitchell (10-0) got the win in relief.
He allowed one run on two hits in 42/3 innings with a walk and a strikeout.
South Carolina starter Jack Wynkoop (7-3) allowed four runs, two earned, on seven hits with two walks and three strikeouts in 51/3 innings.
Dantzler’s blast gave South Carolina a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Dantzler drilled a 2-2 pitch from starter Jacob Lindgren over the right field wall.
A pair of errors in the bottom half of the second inning led to two unearned runs for Mississippi State. After a one-out single put C.T. Bradford on base, he advanced into scoring position on Wynkoop’s failed pickoff. Demarcus Henderson would drive in Bradford with a single up the middle. With two outs and Henderson second base, Derrick Armstrong knocked a short grounder to Schrock at second. The Gamecock second baseman would throw high to first though and Dantzler was unable to hold on to the throw. Henderson kept going on the play and scored from second to give the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead.
They added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth. Brett Pirtle singled to lead off the sixth and Bradford singled with one outs to put runners on the corners. Pirtle would then score on a wild pitch by Wynkoop. A fielder’s choice scored Bradford extending the Mississippi State lead to 4-1.
Dantzler’s second homer of the day came in the top of the eighth. The senior first baseman knocked a 0-2 pitch to right field for his team-leading 14th home run of the season to cut the lead to a pair of runs.
MSU however responded with three runs in the bottom of the eighth for a 7-2 advantage. Henderson drove in his second run of the game with a RBI single, Ammirati drove in a run with a RBI double and Trey Porter added a sacrifice fly.
Mississippi State had 11 hits to just seven for the Gamecocks. Henderson went 3 for 3 with two runs and two RBI. Bradford, Pirtle and Frazier had two hits apiece as well.
Dantzler was 2 for 4 with two runs and two RBIs and Schrock went 2 for 3 to lead the Gamecocks at the plate.