STARKVILLE, MISS.—Two weeks after giving up a season-high 22 runs to Vanderbilt, Thursday's series opener to Mississippi State didn't get much better for South Carolina.
The Gamecocks gave up season highs in runs (24) and hits (22) as they dropped the opener at Dudy Noble Field 24-7 and watched as the margin of error to get into the SEC Tournament got razor thin.
The team's SEC Tournament chances took another hit with the loss, with the Gamecocks needing to win just one of the two final regular season games mixed with two more Alabama losses and two Kentucky losses.
It's the worst loss since losing 19-1 against Florida in 2017 and the first time they've given up 20 or more runs twice in a season since 1997.
It had looked like the Gamecocks were in a good position through two innings, jumping out to a two-run lead after Andrew Eyster drove in a run in each of his first two at-bats, both RBI doubles.
Cam Tringali (2-4, 4.81 ERA) motored through his first two frames, striking out two over and not allowing a run in his first six outs.
That's when the trouble hit, as he loaded the bases with no outs and walked in two runs to tie the game before giving up the go-ahead run on a double play and another on a fielding error, the second of a four-run third for Mississippi State.
He gave up five more in the fourth, finishing his outing giving up a career-high nine runs in four innings, walking three and hitting a batter.
Things didn't get better after he left the game, with Mississippi State getting seven runs in the fifth before recording an out. Daniel Lloyd gave up a run and loaded the bases before Cole Ganopulos came in and gave up two run-scoring hits, including a grand slam to Dustin Skeleton.
Ganopulos finished his outing tying a career-high with four innings pitched, giving up 11 runs (10 earned) on 12 hits and striking out three.
Mississippi State scored at least one run in the final six innings, including five or more runs in three of those.
After plating the game's first two runs, the Gamecocks (27-26, 7-21 SEC) couldn't muster much else of substance, getting five runs the final four innings with four coming in the ninth.
Key moment: After a leadoff error and an infield hit, Tringali hit Jake Mangum to load the bases and things unraveled from there.
Up next: The Gamecocks try to even the series and get a much-needed win Friday night in game two. First pitch is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on the SEC Network Plus with Reid Morgan (4-5, 3.79 ERA) on the mound.