By Logan Lowery
STARKVILLE – Mississippi State scored seven times and had 10 hits but it was not enough to complete the series sweep against No. 21 South Carolina.
The Gamecocks scored in six of the nine frames including a pair of four-run innings to salvage the final game of the series 13-7 on Saturday.
“Taking two out of three from them is a big deal, especially from them,” said MSU pitcher Levi Mintz. “They’re a great team but we’re not going to let one loss define an entire series for us. We swung the bats incredibly, especially the first two days. Today we put up seven runs and that’s no small feat.”
The Diamond Dogs (21-13, 5-7 SEC) plated 27 runs on 36 hits over the weekend including 11 doubles, which is is the most during John Cohen’s seven-year tenure as head coach.
Seth Heck was 3-for-4 with a double and a run batted in to pace State at the plate on Saturday. Jake Vickerson went 2-for-5 with a double and a RBI while John Holland also added a run-scoring double.
“The hardest balls we hit all day were hit right at people and we still got 10 hits,” Cohen said. “Everybody on our team got to first base except (Gavin) Collins and he had two RBI. I think we’re doing a better job offensively. But we’ve got to make better decisions and we didn’t really pitch the way I felt like we were going to.”
Vance Tatum started the game on the mound but was chased after 11⁄3 innings. Tatum surrendered four runs on five hits with a walk and a strikeout, falling to 3-1.
Ross Mitchell gave up four more runs in 21⁄3 innings of relief allowing the Gamecocks to hold an 8-2 advantage by the fourth frame.
South Carolina collected 15 hits led by Max Schrock, who was 5-for-6 at the dish with a home run and two RBI. Elliott Caldwell and Madison Stokes had two singles apiece while Logan Koch and Marcus Mooney both doubled as the Gamecocks improved to 6-6 in the SEC and 21-11 overall.
Brandon Murray (4-0) earned the win tossing 52⁄3 innings of relief and allowing two runs.
State travels to AutoZone Park to take on Memphis at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.