Jacob Billingsley (Gene Swindoll, Gene's Page)

State unable to complete sweet at No. 17 South Carolina

COLUMBIA, S.C. – A gutsy pitching performance by junior right-hander Jacob Billingsley was not enough as No. 13 Mississippi State dropped a 6-1 decision to No. 17 South Carolina in the finale of a three-game Southeastern Conference baseball series played on Easter Sunday at Founders Park.

MSU fell to 25-13 overall and 10-5 in league play, while South Carolina improved to 22-13 and 8-7. The Bulldogs saw a five-game winning streak snapped.

Thanks to a 7-4 win Friday and 5-4 win Saturday, MSU did claim its first conference series win at South Carolina since 1998. Overall, the Bulldogs have won four straight conference series and 13 of their last 15.

In his first conference start, Billingsley matched a season high with five innings pitched. Billingsley allowed three hits and no runs with no walks and six strikeouts. Peyton Plumlee threw the sixth inning and recorded a pair of outs in the seventh inning. Trysten Barlow (0-2), Trey Jolly, Riley Self and Denver McQuary followed to the mound.

MSU scored first in the sixth inning. Jake Mangum began the inning with a double. Brent Rooker drew an intentional walk. Ryan Gridley followed with an RBI-double. The Bulldogs were unable to expand the lead as a double play ball ended the inning.

South Carolina tied the contest in the sixth inning on Carlos Cortes’ third home run of the series.

In the eighth inning, the Gamecocks broke through for five runs.

Jacob Olson singled and Cortes walked. After a sacrifice bunt, an intentional walk loaded the bases. Self was then touched for sacrifice fly by Jonah Bride, a two-run single by L.T. Tolbert, an RBI-double by Matt Williams and an RBI-single by Madison Stokes.

MSU finished with six hits, including a multi-hit game by Gridley.

South Carolina finished with nine hits, including three hits by Stokes and two hits by Tolbert. Starter Adam Hill threw six innings for the Gamecocks. Josh Reagan (4-1) picked up the win in relief.

State will close its four-game road trip with a midweek matchup at South Alabama on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. CT in Mobile.

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