Carolina crushes Bulldogs

Published 11:28 am Monday, April 25, 2011

South Carolina reminded Mississippi State why it’s not only one of the top teams in the Southeastern Conference, but in the entire country.

Christian Walker went 4-for-4 with four RBIs, Brady Thomas had three hits and drove in four runs, and South Carolina pounded Mississippi State 13-4 on Sunday in the series finale in Starkville. The Gamecocks exploded for four runs in the fourth inning and five more in the fifth to open up an eight-run lead.

“The fourth and fifth innings were killers,” Mississippi State coach John Cohen said. “Right now we are searching for the right guy on Sundays to go deeper in the game.”

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Mississippi State totaled 12 hits — Ryan Collins went 3-for-4, while C.T. Bradford, Cody Freeman and Jarrod Parks had two hits each — but was overwhelmed by Carolina’s firepower.

The Gamecocks (31-8, 14-4 SEC) had 18 hits off of six Bulldog pitchers. Walker homered and scored three runs, while Thomas scored twice. DeSean Anderson also had three hits and Jake Williams had four. The Nos. 3, 4 and 5 batters in South Carolina’s order — Walker, Thomas and Williams — were a combined 11-for-16 with 10 RBIs and five runs scored.

Mississippi State (24-16, 7-11) won Saturday to even the series at a game apiece, and threatened to steal the finale early Sunday. Collins’ RBI double in the third inning put the Bulldogs ahead 3-2. Then things spiraled out of control in the fourth and fifth.

Four straight two-out, RBI singles gave Carolina a 6-3 lead in the fourth. In the fifth, Thomas drove in three runs with a bases-clearing triple and then scored on a double by Williams to make it 11-3.

Walker belted a two-run homer in the ninth, but by then it was just adding insult to injury.

“I’m very proud of our team,” Carolina coach Ray Tanner said. “Of all the games I have been involved in, this game means a lot to me, by the way we went after it.”

South Carolina relievers John Taylor and Matt Price combined to allow six hits and one run in 6 1/3 innings of relief. Taylor (3-1) threw four innings and earned the win.

Reliever Kendall Graveman, who pitched the last four innings, was the only one of MSU’s half-dozen hurlers to last more than two innings. Devin Jones (2-5), the third in line, gave up four runs in two-thirds of an inning and was charged with the loss.