Sweep! Cocks take broom to the Dogs, 10-3

South Carolina dominated the visiting Mississippi State Bulldogs for the third game in a row Sunday afternoon, giving the Gamecocks their first series sweep of an SEC opponent in two years, as they defeated Mississippi State 10-3.

The last time South Carolina swept an SEC opponent was at LSU in 2006. Earlier that season, the Gamecocks notched their last home sweep against Florida. The Bulldogs are struggling this year at 9-12 and 1-5 in the SEC, but that does not make the sweep any less sweet for Ray Tanner.

"Sweeps are hard to come by in this league," said Ray Tanner. "We played pretty darn good all weekend, great defense, our pitchers did their job. We played very well all weekend."

Of the three game series, only the Saturday game had any drama. South Carolina beat the Bulldogs 9-1 on Friday, 4-1 Saturday, and 10-3 Sunday for 23-5 series domination. The Bulldogs led 1-0 for a single inning Saturday, their only lead of the series. Much as they did Friday, the Gamecocks wasted no time getting up on Mississippi State in the first inning. Carolina used a single by James Darnell and a double by Justin Smoak to score three runs in the inning. The Gamecocks put the game out of reach in the third inning with a grand slam by Phil Disher, who was struggling entering the game. It was the fourth grand slam of his career at USC.

"I got a fastball down to hit and just tried to put a good swing on it," he said. "I just try to come in here and get hits every day, it doesn't matter who we're playing. It's tough to get three wins, so anytime you can get a sweep a team in the SEC it's a big weekend for you."

The Gamecocks added an insurance run in the fourth on another Smoak RBI, and again in the eighth when Darnell and Kyle Enders tacked on RBIs. The Bulldogs did their only damage in the sixth inning when Connor Powers hit a three-run homer off USC starter Blake Cooper. For the game, Cooper pitched six innings and gave up 10 hits, with 2 walks and 3 strikeouts. He used four double plays to escape trouble when the Bulldogs threatened.

"I just wanted to go out there and try to keep the ball down," said Cooper. "I know my defense is going to make [double plays], so I just try to do that."

"We needed them [the double plays]," Tanner said. "We thought we could play a little defense going into the season, but we've played especially well lately and turned some double plays today to get out of trouble."

The Gamecocks improved to 15-5 on the year, and 4-2 in the SEC. That puts Carolina in a four-way tie for second in the SEC East behind division leading Florida (5-1 in the SEC). The Gamecocks return to action Tuesday night against Furman, and Wednesday against College of Charleston, before hosting a weekend series against Kentucky.

Notes:

- Second baseman Andrew Crisp now has a 13 game hitting streak.

- Carolina scored 10 or more runs for the tenth time this season.

- Disher leads the Gamecocks with six home runs.

Gamecock Anthem Top Stories