Sometimes you just need a little help from your friends.
The Gamecocks' friend this weekend was Mississippi State.
South Carolina clinched the SEC East division title thanks to the three-game sweep by Mississippi State over Kentucky. By clinching the East division, South Carolina is the number two seed in the SEC Tournament and will have a first-round bye.
This is the bright spot in the weekend as USC was oh-so-close to clinching the SEC regular season championship. The Gamecocks fell two games to one to LSU, who clinched the SEC with the series finale win on Saturday in extra innings by a score of 3-2.
Here's a quick recap of the series against LSU:
- Friday - LSU rode Kevin Gausman to a complete game and he did not disappoint. Gausman gave up just two earned runs in nine innings while striking out six Gamecocks. USC was led by Joey Pankake, who had two hits on the day with two RBI for USC. Michael Roth picked up his first loss of the season in eight innings of work. He gave up just three earned runs and struck out four batters but did walk four on the day. LSU wins by a score of 5-2.
- Saturday - South Carolina made the comeback in the sixth inning after trailing 3-0 during most the game. Christian Walker belted a three-run home run for South Carolina to tie things up with LSU. Joey Pankake added an RBI triple in the sixth inning after Walker's home run to give USC the lead for good. Adam Matthews hit an RBI double in the seventh inning but most people would say it was a home run. At any event, South Carolina was able to pull out a 5-4 win over LSU in the second game of the doubleheader on Friday. Matt Price closed it out for South Carolina with three innings pitched with seven strikeouts to zero walks. It was his ninth save of the season.
- Sunday - In the battle for the SEC, South Carolina came up short in extra innings with the 3-2 loss to LSU. Both teams pitched extremely well and it was a 1-1 tie heading into the tenth inning where LSU added two runs. Both runs were added with two outs in the inning including a pinch-hit RBI single from LSU's Jackson Slaid. South Carolina would try to rally in the bottom of the tenth but would only add one run and come up just short of the big victory. Colby Holmes pitched well in his return in 6.2 innings of work with three strikeouts to zero walks.
South Carolina came up short in their bid for the SEC Championship. All hope is not lost however. The Gamecocks get a bye in the upcoming SEC Tournament and are one of a few remaining teams battling for a national seed in the NCAA Tournament. If South Carolina is able to swing a few games in the tournament, they are pretty much a lock for a national seed. It's impressive to see where the Gamecocks are after the slow start in SEC play. USC was 1-5 to start the season in the SEC but went 17-6 over the remainder of the season to finish as SEC East champions. This team should be proud of their accomplishment and they have really come together over the past month. The unity this team has right now parallels what we've seen the past two seasons so the sky's the limit for the Gamecocks. They'll get their chance in the NCAA Tournament and who knows what will happen from there. South Carolina's next game will be Wednesday in the last game of the day in the SEC Tournament. The opponent and time is unknown at this point.