By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – This time, South Carolina came up with the late-inning magic.
Grayson Greiner’s two-out, two-run homer in the 10th inning lifted the No. 14-ranked Gamecocks to a 5-3 win at Dudy Noble Field on Friday night. That evened the series, with Game 3 set for 2 p.m. today.
Greiner, who had three hits on the night, smashed the first pitch he saw from reliever Daryl Norris over the left field wall. It was the sophomore catcher’s fourth homer of the year.
“I saw the guy had a pretty good (slider) in warmups. I was sitting on it first pitch,” Greiner said.
After MSU (39-16, 15-14 SEC) pulled ahead 3-2 in the seventh on Brett Pirtle’s two-run single, it looked like the Gamecocks (39-15, 17-11) had blown another one. State rallied from three down the night before in a 5-4 win.
But South Carolina tied it in the eighth, and MSU left the bases loaded in the ninth.
“In a ballgame like this, you’re going to say a lot of what-ifs, whoever wins and whoever loses,” MSU coach John Cohen said. “South Carolina probably said a lot of what-ifs about (Thursday) night.”
State loaded the bases in the ninth with two outs, but Wes Rea fouled out to end the threat.
impact on tourney
With the loss, MSU will have to open SEC Tournament play on Tuesday, but a win today would helps its chances to host an NCAA regional.
“That’s what everyone keeps talking about,” said Alex Detz, who had four hits. “Hopefully we can win the series and be here for a regional.”
The Gamecocks got to MSU starter Kendall Graveman in the fifth, manufacturing two runs.
MSU threatened in the sixth, loading the bases with one out. But it managed only a run, when Adam Frazier scored on a wild pitch on C.T. Bradford’s swinging strikeout.
Reliever Adam Westmoreland (7-1) got the win. Bradford (0-1), who totaled two-thirds of an inning of relief work, took the loss.