South Carolina Baseball: Gamecocks rally to beat Tigers and the weather in series win over Missouri

South Carolina baseball played in the "other Columbia" this weekend and wound up winning two of three to take the series against the Missouri Tigers.
South Carolina baseball coach Mark Kingston
South Carolina baseball coach Mark Kingston / Eakin Howard/GettyImages

South Carolina baseball fans were starting to feel good about their team heading into this weekend's showdown in the "other Columbia" against the Missouri Tigers. The Gamecocks had taken two of three from the top-5 Kentucky Wildcats, and the struggling offense seemed back on track.

A 15-2 beatdown over East Tennessee State and a projected 10-seed in the NCAA Tournament from D1Baseball also had optimism around the program running higher than it had most of the season.

A road series against a bad Missouri Tigers squad seemed in jeopardy after a game 2 loss and a poor start to game 3, but a comeback win in the rubber match allowed Carolina to take the series.

Game one went about as well as it could have. Mark Kingston's team had a good day on offense as they had at least one base runner in seven of the nine innings, including a 5-run explosion in the 8th inning that put the game out of reach. Ethan Petry and Cole Messina homered, and Messina, Gavin Casas, and Talmadge LeCroy all reached base three times. Messina finished the game with 5 RBI.

After striking out three in the 1st inning, Roman Kimball started to struggle, but Ty Good, Garrett Gainey, Parker Marlatt, and Tyler Dean were excellent in relief, holding Missouri scoreless the rest of the way after Kimball exited the game without recording an out in the 2nd frame. Collectively, the Carolina arms struck out 17 Tigers en route to the 10-2 victory.

Game two was almost the polar opposite of game one. Eli Jones struggled on the hill, surrendering 5 runs and walking more batters than he struck out before being lifted in the 3rd inning. Matthew Becker gave up another 2 before the 4th inning was over, and that was more than enough for Mizzou as the USC bats were relatively quiet in this one. Tyler Pitzer and Parker Marlatt limited the damage to just one more score, but the YardCocks couldn't catch up from the early deficit.

The offense was virtually non-existent in the early frames as Carolina had 6 strikeouts compared to just 2 hits (both singles) through the first 4 innings. In the 6th, the Gamecocks had three hits, including a Cole Messina triple, and scored 2 runs. Blake Jackson followed that up with a home run in the 7th, but Mark Kingston's team couldn't plate another run the rest of the way as they fell 8-3.

The final contest of the series didn't start well for the Gamecocks as Dylan Eskew followed up a strong 1st inning with an implosion in the 2nd, surrendering 4 runs while only getting one Tiger out. Garrett Gainey came in and pitched well in relief (aided by a home run robbery in center by Austin Brinling) before handing the ball off to Connor McCreary and Chris Veach. The combined relief effort of Gainey, McCreary, and Veach held Mizzou to just 2 hits and 0 runs over 7 2/3 innings.

The offense was not good again early in the rubber match, dampening the Gamecocks' hopes of winning the series. Cole Messina scored on a wild pitch in the 2nd frame (after his double and a Blake Jackson sacrifice bunt moved him to 3rd), but Carolina was unable to get another hit until the 7th. However, USC stormed back with two home runs from Dalton Reeves and Ethan Petry, evening the score 4-4. Carolina went ahead 6-4 in the 8th before a weather delay, but when play resumed, Carolina plated 2 more, including a Cole Messina homer. The 9-4 win sealed the series victory.

The Gamecocks will travel to Rock Hill to take on the Winthrop Eagles for a Tuesday night mid-week contest (6:00 PM EST on ESPN+) before a pivotal three-game home series at Founders Park against the Georgia Bulldogs that starts on Thursday.




Next. South Carolina Baseball: After bee delay, former Gamecock hits walk-off bomb. South Carolina Baseball: After bee delay, former Gamecock hits walk-off bomb. dark