For the Mississippi State baseball team, it was a Good Friday indeed.
A four-run second inning and a strong start from former East Central ace Konnor Pilkington helped lead No. 13 MSU to a 7-4 win against No. 17 South Carolina in the opening game of a three-game Southeastern Conference series at Founders Park.
The Bulldogs won the series opener for the third time in five conference weekends. MSU can clinch its fourth straight series win by taking one of the final two games in Columbia.
MSU improved to 24-12 overall and 9-4 in league play, while South Carolina fell to 21-12 and 7-6. The Bulldogs are one-half game behind Arkansas for first place in the Western Division standings.
“It is so hard to win any game in this league, let alone a Friday night game on the road,” head coach Andy Cannizaro said. “We knew the five runs early would be huge. Brent Rooker got us started like he always does. (South Carolina pitcher) Clarke Schmidt was outstanding. We knew once he got settled in, it would be tough.”
Pilkington (3-3) threw six innings, allowing six hits and four runs (two earned), with seven strikeouts and a walk. Riley Self followed with 2.1 innings of excellent setup work. Spencer Price got the final two outs for the game for his 12th save.
Ole Miss 4, LSU 1: The Rebels (22-13, 7-7) rebounded from an embarrassing loss the night before to nip LSU (24-12, 8-6) on Friday. Ole Miss starter David Parkinson earned the win, allowing just one run in 6 1/3 innings. LSU’s Jared Poche’ took the loss. He struck out nine in seven innings. The Rebels combined for four homers in the win. Tate Blackman hit two, followed by Colby Bortles and Nick Fortes. Nick Coomes and Josh Smith each led LSU with two hits.
Southern Miss 15, Rice 4: The Golden Eagles (27-8, 11-2) exploded for 15 runs on 14 hits Friday night to cruise past Rice (12-24, 3-10).
Daniel Keating supplied the power for USM, hitting the team’s lone homer. LeeMarcus Boyd added a triple, while Dylan Burdeaux, Jake Viaene, Casey Maack, Cole Donaldson and Storme Cooper added doubles. Burdeaux led USM with three hits and three RBIs. Boyd added two hits and two more RBIs. Mason Irby, Viaene and Keating also had two RBIs.
Kirk McCarty was impressive on the mound for USM. The starter allowed four runs on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings while striking out eight.