In the early going, you saw something you had not seen from Mississippi State much this season, and that was Ethan Small struggling in the opening innings. It was 2-0 South Carolina going into the bottom of the third, and that’s when everything flipped. MSU scored 4 in the third, 5 in the fourth, and 7 in the fifth en route to an unbelievable 24-7 win over the Gamecocks. Every Bulldog who got an at-bat got on base, with only Luke Hancock not getting a hit. Tanner Allen led the Diamond Dawgs with a 5-5 3 RBI performance, and State got home runs from Landon Jordan, Josh Hatcher, Brad Cumbest, and Dustin Skelton, his of the grand slam variety. With the win, MSU is now 44-10 on the season, 19-9 in the conference, and has secured one of the first round byes in next week’s SEC Tournament.
22 of them, to be precise. Six Bulldogs had multi-hit games, and the Dawgs hit a new season high four home runs in a game. South Carolina’s pitching line read like a car wreck, just carnage strewn everywhere as far as the eye can see. This Bulldog offense has been hot as of late, but tonight took it to a different level. I’m not 100 percent sure if it was MSU’s bats or the South Carolina arms that deserve the credit or blame.
Ethan Small was not his normal self in the early going, giving up three doubles and two walks in three innings en route to a 2-0 deficit. Once his team secured the lead, Small reverted back to form, retiring seven in a row before exiting the game in the fifth with the decision in hand. Small said in postgame he was happy to finally face a bit of adversity, and figured out in the fourth inning what he was doing wrong and how to fix it. Going on a day’s less rest than he normally would, it’s good to see Small turn things around and revert to his usual dominant form.
None of those numbers matter tomorrow, as MSU will look to win its 20th conference game for only the 2nd time this decade. The Bulldogs will keep their usual rotation and put freshman hurler JT Ginn on the hill, as State looks to keep pace with Georgia. Finishing with the same record as the Eastern Division Bulldogs would give MSU the #3 seed in Hoover. State still has an outside chance at the SEC West title and the #2 seed, but would need Texas A&M to take the next two from Arkansas.