State Drops Series Finale At USC, 10-3

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The 11th-ranked South Carolina baseball team completed a weekend Southeastern Conference series sweep of Mississippi State, winning 10-3 Sunday afternoon at Sarge Frye Field.

The Gamecocks took a 9-1 win Friday and 4-1 win Saturday. USC improved to 15-5 overall and 4-2 in conference play, while MSU fell to 9-12 and 1-5.

South Carolina struck quickly Sunday, scoring three times in the first inning. Phil Disher hit a grand slam for the Gamecocks to extend the lead to 7-0 in the third inning. Down eight runs, the Bulldogs finally scored in the sixth inning when Connor Powers slapped a three-run home run.

MSU starter Ricky Bowen (2-3) was touched for a leadoff double by Reese Havens. Whit Merrifield legged out a bunt attempt for an infield hit. James Darnell followed with an RBI single and Smoak drove in a pair with a double.

Bowen then worked a scorless second inning before being touched for Disher's slam an inning later.

The Bulldogs had threatened to score first. MSU actually had the bases loaded with one out in the top of the first inning. USC turned the first of four double plays to end that threat.

MSU did score in the sixth inning. Jason Nappi and Cody Freeman had back-to-back singles to open the inning. Powers then hit his sixth home run of the year - a three-run shot to center field. Russ Sneed followed that blast with a single. However, another double play ball helped the Gamecocks avoid more damage in that at-bat.

Bowen pitched four innings, allowing eight hits and eight runs (all earned), with three walks and two strikeouts. Forrest Moore threw three innings of scoreless relief. Chad Crosswhite was touched for a pair of runs in the USC eighth inning.

Blake Cooper (3-2) worked eight innings to garner the win for the Gamecocks. Cooper allowed 10 hits and three runs (all earned), with two walks and three strikeouts. Craig Thomas worked a perfect ninth inning for USC.

The Bulldogs fiinshed with 10 hits. Jason Nappi and Connor Powers each had multile hits. Grant Hogue had a first-inning single, extending his current hit streak to five games. Hogue has hit safely in 16 of MSU's 21 games.

The Gamecocks totaled 11 hits. Havens, Darnell, Smoak and Kyle Enders had multiple hits for the Gamecocks.

MSU opens a seven-game homestand with a midweek series against South Alabama. The Bulldogs and Jaguars play at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday at Dudy Noble Field. SEC play resumes next weekend as MSU hosts Georgia as part of Super Bulldog Weekend festivities.

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