HOOVER, Ala. | Recapping No. 16 MSU’s 5-3 win over No. 17 South Carolina in the second round of the SEC Tournament at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium on Wednesday night.
• The buzz: The fifth-seeded Bulldogs (42-16) scored twice in the top of the ninth to beat South Carolina (39-17) for the third time in less than a week. Showing no ill effects from the previous night’s 17-inning game against Missouri, MSU got a stellar relief outing from freshman Myles Gentry and overcame some misfortune – some self-inflicted, some not – to advance to the next round.
• Big inning: It was a 3-3 game from the fourth inning on, but MSU got the ninth started with leadoff hitter Adam Frazier‘s single to left field, and that was followed by an Alex Detz single. After Hunter Renfroe popped out on a bunt attempt, Brett Pirtle walked, and then Wes Rea singled to right field to score the go-ahead run. Demarcus Henderson also singled home a run.
• Key stats: MSU was 5 of 17 with runners in scoring position, while SC was 1 of 8. … MSU left 12 men on base, South Carolina left nine. … MSU turned two double plays.
• MSU at the plate: The Bulldogs had 12 hits, the eighth straight game in which they’ve had double-digit hits. … Rea had three hits and two RBIs. … Henderson had two hits and three RBIs. … Frazier had two hits, as did Brett Pirtle, who has reached base safely in 31 consecutive games. … MSU scored twice in the first inning on RBI hits by Rea and Henderson. Henderson also had a sac fly RBI in the third.
• South Carolina at the plate: The Gamecocks had seven hits. … Nobody had multiple hits for SC, which scored all three of its runs in the fourth inning. Max Schrock drew a bases-loaded walk, and then Brison Celek stroked a two-run single to tie the game.
• MSU on the mound: Starter Luis Pollorena went 3 1/3 innings, allowing three runs (all earned) on four hits with two strikeouts and three walks. … Gentry (4-0) worked the final 5 2/3 innings, tying a career high with eight strikeouts. He allowed no runs on three hits and walked three on 93 pitches. That was big, helping MSU save its bullpen after it used five relievers the night before.
• South Carolina on the mound: Starter Nolan Belcher went 6 1/3 innings, overcoming his rough start. He allowed eight hits, fanned five and walked two. … Adam Westmoreland (7-2) tossed two innings, allowing two runs on two hits with two strikeouts and a walk. … Tyler Webb entered in the ninth with the bases loaded and one out and gave up Rea and Henderson’s RBI singles.
• Quotable: “We knew in order to get to the next day, to have a chance to win sucker, we knew one guy was going to have to be stretched out of the bullpen. That was Myles tonight. We were going to win or lose with him.” – MSU coach John Cohen
• Bottom line: The Bulldogs are in great position to make another run at the SEC Tournament title. They’ll play No. 9 seed Texas A&M in tomorrow night’s late game. The Aggies (32-25), who MSU swept in College Station during the regular season, upset No. 1 Vanderbilt today, 5-0. Senior right-hander Kendall Graveman (5-5, 2.99 ERA) will start on the mound, and a win would give MSU the day off Friday.