The fourth weekend of the college baseball season got underway Friday night as South Carolina squared off with Michigan State of the Big Ten in the first of a 3-game series at Founders Park. How did the Gamecocks fare?
FINAL: South Carolina 3, Michigan 2
MSU (9-3): 001 000 010 = 2-9-1
USC (10-5): 000 020 10x = 3-3-1
WP – Clarke Schmidt (3-0)
LP – Alex Troop (2-1)
SV – Colie Bowers (1)
HR – USC, Madison Stokes (5th, 1 on)
RBI – Madison Stokes (2)
LOB – USC 2,
A – 6,537 (Announced)
Time – 2:23
Gamecock Pitchers: Clarke Schmidt (7.1 IP, 102 pitches), Colie Bowers (1.2, 22 pitches)
-- Clarke Schmidt set down the first four Michigan State batters until a one-out single in the top of the second. Five of the first six outs recorded by Schmidt were strikeouts. The Spartans broke through in the top of the third on a single, groundout and RBI single through the left side for a 1-0 lead.
-- The Gamecocks managed just one baserunner in the first three innings off MSU starter Alex Troop, who came into Friday’s game with a 1.80 ERA in 15.0 IP. Madison Stokes was hit by a pitch with one out in the bottom of the third.
-- T.J. Hopkins left the game in the second inning with a right leg injury and was replaced by Danny Blair.
-- Schmidt continued to mow down the Michigan State hitters in the top of the fourth, recording two more strikeouts. Seven of his first 12 outs were strikeouts. The Gamecocks got their second baserunner of the night when Williams walked in the bottom of the fourth. Through four innings, the Gamecocks didn’t have a hit.
-- The Gamecocks caught a major break in the bottom of the fifth when Jonah Bride’s fly into short right was misjudged by the Michigan State RF as the balllanded behind him. Bride reached second. Two batters later, Madison Stokes lofted a high drive down the left field line that reached the seats for a 2-run homer, his second HR of the season. The roundtripper gave USC a 2-1 lead on their first hit of the night.
-- Michigan State got a leadoff single to start the top of the sixth, giving them 6 hits, all singles. After an out, a looping double down the LF line gave the Spartans runners at second and third with one out. But Schmidt bore down with a strikeout and groundout to escape the jam and preserve USC’s 2-1 lead.
-- The Gamecocks picked up a key insurance run in the bottom of the seventh in an unusual way. Bride rifled a shot into left-center and reached third when the ball deflected off the glove of the diving MSC centerfielder. Moments later, when a third strike skipped away from the MSU catcher, he had to throw down to first. An alert Bride took off and scored on a head first slide into home, giving USC a 3-1 lead.
-- Michigan State scored a run in the top of the eighth on a single, wild pitch, hit by pitch, sacrifice bunt and RBI groundout. The Spartans put the tying run base in the top of the ninth, but Bower sclosed the game out with a strikeout.
-- Gamecock pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts, with Schmidt recording a career high 12 in 7.1 IP. The Gamecocks wer outhit, 9-3, but pulled out the win.
MSU 3rd – Bechina RBI single to center (MSU 1-0)
USC 5th – Bride reached on two-base error; Stokes hered to left (2 RBI)(USC 2-1).
USC 7th – Bride tripled and score don throw to first on strikeout (USC 3-1)
MSU 8th – Hughes RBI groundout