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May 2, 2015

Box Score

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina scored five unanswered runs and brought the winning run to the plate in the seventh, but Mississippi State (35-17, 10-13 SEC) posted nine runs in the first three innings to claim a 9-6 victory on Saturday afternoon at Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field.

The Gamecocks (35-19, 9-14 SEC) started the comeback bid with sophomore first baseman Kaylea Snaer’s solo home run in the third. In the fourth, South Carolina took advantage of a Bulldog error to score again, as junior left fielder Alaynie Page raced home from second after a grounder was misplayed. In the sixth, sophomore right fielder Victoria Williams hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly just ahead of Snaer’s two-RBI double that missed going out of the park by a foot to make it 9-6.

South Carolina had two runners reach around the first out of the seventh, the second on freshman Krystan White’s hit after an 11-pitch at-bat, before a ground ball put both in scoring position for Page. The Gamecocks’ leading hitter didn’t see a pitch near the plate, drawing the walk to load the bases. Bulldog starting pitcher Alexis Silkwood’s 165th pitch was hit in the air to center, where the Bulldogs grabbed it for the final out of the game.

Mississippi State took a 3-0 lead on Mackenzie Toler’s three-run homer in the first. The Gamecocks got a run back on Snaer’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the first, but four more Bulldog runs scored in the second, capped by Toler’s second three-run round-tripper of the day. The Bulldogs tallied two more in the third on a dropped fly ball and on Morgan Bell’s RBI single.

Silkwood (25-13) went the distance in the win, giving up six runs, four earned, on seven hits and four walks. She struck out nine. Gamecock redshirt senior Julie Sarratt (17-11) took the loss, allowing nine runs, six earned, on 12 hits and five walks.

Game Changer:
Toler’s second home run proved to be the deciding run in the Gamecocks’ fifth three-hour game of the year.

Key Stat:
The three errors by the Gamecocks is the third time that many have been committed this year in SEC play. South Carolina is 0-3 in those.

• Page scored three times for the second-consecutive game and moved into fifth in a single season, one shy of Dana Fulmer’s 1995 tally of 57 which ranks fourth.
• Page’s two walks ties her for third with two others with 32 on a year.
• Snaer went 2-for-4 with a double, a homer and four RBI. The home run ties her for 15th in a single season with seven and 11th in her career with Samantha Jennings (2001-04) and Tina Plew (1994-97) with 15.
• Senior centerfielder Kristen Struett went 2-for-3 with a run and a walk.
• Four Bulldogs had two hits, led by Toler’s two home runs. Julia Echols, Loryn Nichols and Amanda Ivy also tallied two hits, with Echols and Ivy also scoring twice.
• Caroline Seitz also scored twice for the Gamecocks.
• South Carolina loses for the first time this year when scoring six or more runs.
• The game was a paid sellout of 1,480 tickets, the second of the year for South Carolina at Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field.

Head coach Beverly Smith

The first few innings for us were unfocused, and it cost us. Mississippi State is a tough team, and we’re going to have to be focused and resilient to take the series.

Up Next:
The Gamecocks and Bulldogs close the series and the regular season on Sunday at 12 noon EDT. Sam Gore and Kayla Braud will be on the call for the SEC Network broadcast.