Gamecocks take third straight series with 5-3 win over MSU

No. 9 South Carolina raced out to a 5-0 lead with all five runs coming with two outs and freshman left-hander Jordan Montgomery allowed just one run in 6.1 innings of work as the Gamecocks held on to defeat Mississippi State 5-3 on Saturday afternoon in front of a sellout crowd of 8,242 fans at Carolina Stadium.

Junior right-hander Matt Price hurled two scoreless innings of relief for his third save as the Gamecocks won their third consecutive series to improve to 26-10 overall and 7-7 in the SEC, while the loss drops Mississippi State to 21-14 and 5-9 in league play. Sunday’s series finale is set for 1:30 p.m.

Montgomery is now 3-0 on the year after earning the win. He allowed one run on five hits while walking two batters and striking out four. Mississippi State starter Kendall Graveman suffered the loss and is 2-2 for the season. He allowed five runs on eight hits in 8.2 innings with two walks and seven strikeouts. Price allowed just two hits in his stint and struck out two batters for his second save of the series.

Four consecutive batters reached base with two outs in the bottom of the third inning as the Gamecocks built a 2-0 lead against the Bulldogs. Joey Pankake singled to left field followed by a base hit up the middle from Evan Marzilli. After Christian Walker loaded the bases with a four-pitch walk, LB Dantzler came through with a two-out RBI single up the middle scoring both Pankake and Marzilli.

The lead increased to 3-0 in the bottom of the fifth inning. St. James product Tanner English reached base to lead off the frame with a single up the middle. He would score on Walker’s two-out RBI base hit into the gap in left-center.

South Carolina added two more runs to make it 5-0 in the bottom of the sixth inning. Sean Sullivan drew a one-out walk and scored on a triple by Tanner English. With a 1-0 count, English drilled a deep fly that MSU center fielder C.T. Bradford could not come up with. Joey Pankake followed with a RBI infield single as he beat out a throw by Bulldog third baseman Darryl Norris.

Mississippi State didn’t waver though coming up with three runs in the top of the seventh inning. Trey Porter connected with a one-out solo home run that ended the afternoon for Montgomery. Tyler Fullerton singled off of Gamecock reliever Tyler Webb with Sam Frost adding a double. Adam Frazier would knock in Fullerton with a sacrifice fly to left field. Frost then scored Mississippi State’s third run on a pair of wild pitches issued by Gamecock reliever Evan Beal. With a runner on first, junior left-hander Nolan Belcher ended MSU’s threat with a groundout.

Both teams had nine hits for the afternoon. English went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and a RBI. Pankake and Dantzler added two hits apiece. Frazier, Wes Rea and Porter all tallied two hits to lead Mississippi State.

South Carolina sends junior RHP Colby Holmes (4-0, 2.56 ERA) of Conway to the hill on Sunday afternoon with Mississippi State’s starting pitcher to be announced.

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