Starkville, Miss. — Mississippi State scored three runs in the sixth inning and held off a late Gamecock rally to defeat second-ranked South Carolina 5-3 on Saturday evening at Dudy Noble Field in SEC baseball action. The Bulldogs are 24-15 and 7-10 in the SEC, while the loss drops Carolina to 30-8 and 13-4 in league play.
MSU reliever Luis Pollorena earned the win in three innings of relief with just one run allowed, unearned, on four hits with three strikeouts and a walk. He is now 5-2 on the year. South Carolina reliever John Taylor suffered the loss and is now 2-1 on the year. He allowed two runs, one earned, on two hits in 1/3 innings of relief.
With South Carolina leading 3-2 entering the bottom of the sixth, Mississippi State made its move as Jarrod Parks walked to open the frame. With Taylor on in relief of Gamecock starter Colby Holmes, the Bulldogs put a pair of runners on base as Trey Johnson singled to left field. That would set up the sacrifice bunt that was laid down by MSU’s Wes Thigpen. On the play, Taylor threw wide of first baseman Christian Walker and Parks scored from second base to tie the game at 3-3. With runners on second and third, the Bulldogs went ahead 5-3 on a two-run single up the middle by Ryan Collins.
Carolina attempted to rally in the seventh inning as a base hit by Scott Wingo and a walk to Christian Walker gave Carolina a pair of runners. With both in scoring position after a wild pitch, MSU reliever Caleb Reed battled as he struck out Brady Thomas looking followed by a called third strike on Adrian Morales that ended the Carolina threat.
Reed would finish the game up for the Bulldogs to pick up his seventh save of the year. He worked 2.2 scoreless innings with four strikeouts and two walks allowed and just one hit yielded.
MSU out-hit Carolina 8-7 for the evening. Despite being out-hit, Carolina first baseman Christian Walker had a great night at the plate reaching base all five plate appearances with two hits and three walks. He has reached base in nine of 10 plate appearances for the weekend (six hits, three walks). C.T. Bradford, Jarrod Parks, Trey Johnson all had two hits apiece for Mississippi State.
Mississippi State broke ahead 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning on the back of three consecutive two-out base hits. C.T. Bradford got it started with a single followed by Brent Brownlee’s single. Both runners would then score on Jarrod Parks’ RBI single to right-center. On the play, right fielder Robert Beary fumbled the ball in the outfield allowing for Brownlee to also score.
Carolina answered right back though in the top of the fourth inning to take a 3-2 lead and knocked MSU starter Nick Routt from the game in the process. Christian Walker opened the frame with a single to left-center followed by a base hit to right field by Brady Thomas. After a sacrifice bunt by Morales, MSU decided to go to the pen for left-hander Luis Pollorena that ended the evening for Routt. With two outs and runners still on second and third, the Gamecocks caught a break as a hard grounder by Jake Williams could not be fielded by MSU third baseman Jarrod Parks and Walker made his way home with Carolina’s first run of the game. After a walk to Evan Marzilli loaded the bases, Carolina took the lead on a RBI single by Robert Beary to left field.
South Carolina junior center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. left the game after the sixth inning after sustaining an injury to his left wrist diving for a fly ball in the fifth inning. He was to be evaluated after the game by MSU doctors.
South Carolina will start freshman RHP Forrest Koumas on Sunday afternoon. MSU is still to be announced.