"We have not had a lot of luck lately," MSU head coach John Cohen said. "At the same time, you need to make your own luck by putting more players in a position to score. We need to execute better on the offensive side of things."
The Bulldogs received another strong pitching start from Kendall Graveman. A junior right-hander, Graveman (2-2) allowed eight hits and five runs (all earned) in 5.2 innings of work, with seven strikeouts and a pair of walks. Nick Routt and Jonathan Holder combined for 2.1 innings of shutout relief as the Maroon and White tried to rally.
Down 5-0, MSU broke up the shutout by scoring three times in the seventh inning.
USC starter Jordan Montgomery (3-0) was lifted after a one-out home run by Trey Porter - his fifth of the season. New pitcher Tyler Webb was greeted by a single from Tyler Fullerton and ground-rule double by Sam Frost. Adam Frazier lined a sacrifice fly, scoring Fullerton. Frost later scored on a wild pitch.
The Bulldogs put two runners on in the eighth inning but failed to score, as Matt Price earned his second save in the series.
"Kendall pitched well," Cohen said. "There were just a couple of plays here and there. The triple (by Tanner English) may be the big hit for them. C.T. (Bradford) makes a tremendous effort and the ball bounces off his glove because he really can't get a full extension because of the injury."
That RBI-triple highlighted a two-run sixth inning. The follow-up RBI-single by Joey Pankake ran the Gamecocks' advantage to 5-0. South Carolina built its early lead with two runs in the third inning and another score in the fifth inning.
Each team finished with nine hits. Frazier, Porter and Wes Rea had multiple hits for the Bulldogs. Rea now has 14 multi-hit games for the Bulldogs, while Frazier has hit safely in 30 games.
English led USC with three hits, while Pankake and LB Dantzler each added two hits.
The series finale is at 12:30 p.m. Sunday.
After completing the USC series, the Bulldogs head to Pearl for a Tuesday night Governor's Cup matchup with Ole Miss. Game time is 6:30 p.m. at Trustmark Park. The contest will be televised regionally by Comcast Sports Southeast.
Thursday, the Bulldogs return to SEC play with the opening-game of a three-game Super Bulldog Weekend Series with Tennessee. Fans are encouraged to wear white for the contest, which will be televised nationally by ESPNU as part of its Thursday Night SEC Game of the Week package.
Grandstand seating will be open to all who attend the game Thursday night. However, regular season ticket holders will have first claim to their seats.