Hot in the Heart of the Order
The Mississippi State Bulldogs came up big in the top of the ninth to avoid extra innings and to defeat the South Carolina Gamecocks 5-3 on Wednesday evening. The Bulldogs took an early 3-0 lead on the Gamecocks in the first two innings, however that lead was erased in the bottom of the fourth as the Gamecocks had a three-run inning.
Both teams seemed to struggle to produce offensively until Mississippi State was able to load the bases in the top of the ninth and drive in a couple of runs.
Of the twelve Mississippi State hits, over half of them (7) were courtesy of the three-five spot hitters in the Bulldogs lineup. The combination of Pirtle, Rea and Henderson accounted for two of the Bulldogs’ five runs and all five RBI.
“That’s just part of baseball. Sometimes you get on a roll and you’re feeling the barrel, sometimes you’re not. Fortunately, some of them have been falling,” said Mississippi State’s Wes Rea who had three hits for two RBI on the night.
The South Carolina pitching staff however caught the other end of that spectrum.
“They have a good lineup. It feels like we’ve been playing these guys for months. We know each other. We know what they’re trying to do and they know what we’re trying to do. They put good swings on the ball. I probably didn’t get ahead as well as I should have. They found the holes in it. That’s how baseball goes,” said South Carolina reliever Tyler Webb.
A Sigh of Relief
As strong as the middle of the order was for Mississippi State, the game came down to much more than the offensive productivity.
“The story of the games is of course Myles. He’s a guy who struggled against left-handed hitters and he made a couple of adjustments tonight that really created some movements. He added and subtracted with his fastball tonight than in the past.” said Mississippi State coach John Cohen of Myles Gentry.
Mississippi State’s Myles Gentry entered the game in the fourth inning and finished with a lights out performance. Gentry pitched a total of 5.2 innings allowing just three hits alongside three walks and eight strikeouts without allowing a single run.
With the loss, the Gamecocks will play Vanderbilt on Thursday morning following the 9:30 a.m. game. The Gamecocks lost both games that they previously played against the Commodores earlier this season. Mississippi State will advance to play Texas A&M on Thursday evening following the conclusion of the 4:30 p.m. game. The Bulldogs swept Texas A&M in the conference series that was played earlier in the season.
Video of Mississippi State head coach John Cohen after Mississippi State’s 5-3 victory over South Carolina: