April 9, 2017
MISSISSIPPI STATE, Miss. – Mississippi State (29-13, 4-8 SEC) claimed the series with Sunday’s 5-2 win over South Carolina (23-16, 3-11 SEC) at Nusz Park.
The Bulldogs struck for three in the fourth to take the lead for good. Reggie Harrison led off the frame with a double and took third on Caroline Seitz’s groundout. Calyn Adams followed with a suicide squeeze bunt, with Harrison sliding in ahead of the throw. The next batter, Morgan Bell, drove a 2-1 pitch over the wall in center, giving Mississippi State the 4-2 lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
The Gamecocks struck first in the third thanks to senior Kaylea Snaer’s two-out, two-run home run. Junior Tiara Duffy led off the frame with a triple, and the Bulldogs brought in Cassady Knudsen, who got the first two outs of the inning. MSU brought back in starter Silkwood, and Snaer drove the eighth pitch of the at-bat over the wall in left center to give South Carolina a 2-0 lead.
Mississippi State got a run back in the bottom of the third. Alexis Silkwood and Emily Heimberger led off the frame with singles, and Amanda Ivy’s sacrifice bunt moved both up 60 feet. A passed ball let Silkwood score from third to cut the Gamecocks’ lead to 2-1.
Silkwood added the final insurance run in the sixth with her two-out single that brought home Adams from second. The Gamecocks got the tying run to the plate in the seventh with two down after infield hits by sophomore Kennedy Clark and Duffy, but the Bulldogs’ Holly Ward got another grounder, this one scooped up at second, to get a force and end the game.
Cassady Knudsen (6-3) picked up the win, tossing three shutout innings and striking out seven throughout the contest, as the Bulldogs used both Silkwood and Knudsen throughout the first six innings. Silkwood gave up two earned runs on three hits in 3.2 innings, fanning three. Gamecock senior Nickie Blue (9-7) took the loss, allowing five runs, four earned, on six hits in five-plus innings of work.
Five times, the Bulldogs swapped pitchers, helping keep South Carolina’s offense from getting into a rhythm.
The Gamecocks struck out 10 times in the contest and only got one runner to third in the contest.
Silkwood went 2-for-3, the only Bulldog with multiple hits, scoring once and driving in another, while Adams scored twice and drove in another while going 0-for-2.
Four of South Carolina’s five hits came with two down.
Duffy went 2-for-3 with the triple and run scored.
Snaer, with her hit, ties for 17th in program history with 188.
Blue didn’t walk a batter in her five innings and needed only 63 pitches to record her 15 outs.
South Carolina ends the road swing on Tuesday at 5 p.m., traveling to Coastal Carolina for a single game against the newest member of the Sun Belt Conference.