No. 14 South Carolina left Dudy Noble Field a 7-2 loser to No. 24 Mississippi State on Saturday, quite literally dropping the series. The Gamecocks (39-16, 17-12 SEC) committed three errors and couldn’t get cranked up offensively.
Holbrook, who took over for Ray Tanner this season, still likes his team’s chances of hosting an NCAA regional.
“We finished second in the SEC East, and we’re one of the top four teams in the SEC,” Holbrook said. “If you’d asked me before the year if I’d have signed up for that, you’re damn skippy I would.
“Now we can go control our own destiny and play and see what happens.”
South Carolina can strengthen its regional hosting case at the SEC Tournament this week in Hoover, Ala. The Gamecocks are the No. 4 seed and will play the Missouri-MSU winner on Wednesday.
LB Dantzler, who recently missed two games with a separated shoulder, hit a pair of solo home runs, giving him 14 on the season. But South Carolina managed only seven hits total.
“We just really couldn’t manufacture anything offensively,” Holbrook said. “Our guys tried awful hard. They didn’t have much fuel in the tank, I don’t think, today from a bat speed standpoint, an approach standpoint.”
Dantzler’s first homer made it a 1-0 game in the second inning, but MSU (40-16, 16-14) responded with two runs in the bottom half. It tacked on two more in the sixth, and after Dantzler homered in the eighth to make it a 4-2 game, MSU scored three more times.
“The scouting report said if you’ve got speed and you can run, they’ll kick it around a little bit,” said State left fielder Demarcus Henderson, who had three hits and two RBIs.
He also scored twice, including on a throwing error by second baseman Max Schrock in the second inning, which was also saw South Carolina starter Jack Wynkoop commit an error on a pickoff throw.
Wynkoop (7-3) gave up four runs - two earned – in 5 1/3 innings. He allowed seven hits, struck out three and walked two.
“I thought it was going to be one heck of a game if we'd have played defense, and we didn’t,” Holbrook said.
MSU starter Jacob Lindgren tossed 4 1/3 innings, giving up one run on five hits. It was his longest outing in four weeks.
Reliever Ross Mitchell (10-0) pitched the final 4 2/3 innings, allowing one run on two hits.
“I’ve got problems with the way we played today,” Holbrook said, “but with our season, I’m proud of them for what they’ve done.”