COLUMBIA, S.C. (MSU Athletics/WTVA) - Down by three, No. 25 Mississippi State (34-18, 6-15 SEC) rallied to locked the game up in the fifth, but No. 13 South Carolina (41-11, 14-7 SEC) scored two runs in the sixth to clinch the series finale win, 5-4, Sunday in Columbia.
The Bulldogs rallied in the top of the seventh with a solo homer from senior Morgan Bell, but Gamecock reliever Kelsey Oh retired the next three batters she faced to hang on for the win.
Senior Holly Ward tossed the complete game, falling to 13-7 on the season. Ward allowed just six hits and a walk, while striking out four. All five Gamecocks runs that scored were unearned.
At the plate, senior Reggie Harrison turned in the only multi-hit outing for MSU as she went 2-for-3 with an RBI.
After retiring the Bulldogs in order in the top of the first, the Gamecocks loaded the bases with no outs with help of a MSU error, walk and a fielder's choice. Ward forced a ground ball to shortstop to record the force out at home, but a wild throw to first on the double play attempt brought two unearned runs home for the Gamecocks.
The Gamecocks looked poised to add to its lead with back-to-back singles in the top of the second, but a base-running error resulted into a 9-5-2-7-3-5 out between third base and home plate before Ward picked up her second strikeout to retire the side.
Two Bulldogs errors in the fourth inning manufactured the third unearned Gamecock run of the game.
Junior Sarai Niu led off the top of the fifth with a double to right to put a Bulldog in scoring position for the first time in the game. With pinch runner freshman Macey Petrey at second, senior Reggie Harrison picked up her second single of the game with an RBI hit to center to cut the lead to 3-1.
Senior Cayln Adams laid down a bunt, but the throw to third on the force out attempt to third was late, leaving everyone safe to load the bases. In a pinch-hit appearance, senior Carmen Carter knocked a hit up the middle. USC made the force out at second, but picked up the RBI as Harrison scored.
The Bulldogs ran themselves into an out of their on with a pickle between third and home, but junior Emily Heimberger delivered a two-out single to left to score Carter and lock the game up at 3-3.
USC regained the lead in the sixth with help of MSU's fifth error of the game. After knocking back-to-back singles, the Gamecocks laid down a bunt, but an errant throw to first brought home the go-head run. USC plated an insurance run in the inning with an RBI single to right.
The Bulldogs mounted a seventh-inning rally as Bell led off with a solo home run to center, but USC retired the next three Bulldogs to clinch the series sweep.
SOUTH CAROLINA SERIES RESULTS
Friday, April 27 – No. 13 South Carolina def. No. 25 Mississippi State, 5-2
Saturday, April 28 – No. 13 South Carolina def. No. 25 Mississippi State, 8-1
Sunday, April 29 – No. 13 South Carolina def. No. 25 Mississippi State, 5-4
No. 25 Mississippi State returns to Nusz Park for the final weekend of the regular series as the Bulldogs host No. 7 Tennessee over Senior Weekend. The series begins on Friday, May 4 at 6:30 p.m. CT.
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