South Carolina Baseball: Gamecocks' SEC Tournament run ends in ugly, wild extra inning affair

South Carolina baseball played an ugly game against the LSU Tigers on Saturday, and after the dust settled, the Gamecocks lost, ending their SEC Tournament run.
South Carolina baseball coach Mark Kingston
South Carolina baseball coach Mark Kingston / Eakin Howard/GettyImages

After watching a relatively fun win on Friday against the Kentucky Wildcats, South Carolina baseball fans who watched the Gamecocks play on Saturday against the LSU Tigers were not treated to a game that was easy on the eyes.

Carolina and LSU combined for 5 errors and about a half dozen more should-have-been errors that the official scorekeeper called hits. The two teams' pitchers struggled to find the zone, as well, surrendering a total of 17 walks and HBPs. The Gamecocks and Tigers also put up three separate innings of at least 3 runs scored and all of those frames were made possible by walks and defensive miscues.

In the end, though, in one of the ugliest games of the year, Mark Kingston's South Carolina baseball team had their SEC Tournament run ended in a wild extra-inning affair.

Roman Kimball got the start and was good. He held LSU scoreless through the first third of the game, and he should have gotten out of the 4th unscathed, but Talmadge LeCroy had two misplays at third (somehow, neither were called errors), and Kennedy Jones committed an error in left field. The end result was six runs for the Bayou Bengals in the 4th inning, 4 charged to Kimball and 2 charged to Drake Quinn, who did not record an out.

Thankfully for South Carolina baseball fans, the Gamecock offense was good, and the LSU pitching and defense wasn't. After manufacturing a run in the 2nd inning, Dalton Reeves smacked an opposite-field 3-run home run in the 3rd. Then, in the 4th, Carolina sent LSU pitcher Aiden Moffett out of the game by scoring 4 more as they nearly batted around in the inning.

Up 8-0 heading into bottom of the 4th and up 8-6 after that disastrous bottom half, the Gamecocks touched home plate twice more in the 6th thanks to some aggressive baserunning from Ethan Petry and Blake Jackson. LSU got one back with a solo home run off the bat of Jared Jones. Sam Simpson, the reliever who surrendered the long ball, saved the 'pen a bit with 2 innings of work.

Matthew Becker threw a ball away in the 7th, and Blake Jackson double-clutched on the throw, allowing the baserunner to get to 3rd base. LSU scored a run on a sacrifice fly, and, with the extra out, former Gamecock Michael Braswell hit a home run to cut the lead to just 10-9.

The score remained unchanged despite both teams threatening, and Garrett Gainey entered the contest to start the bottom of the 9th. Looking for his 2nd save of the SEC Tournament, Gainey gave up a leadoff double. Then, on a bunt attempt, freshman Lee Ellis thought Will Tippett would be covering the third base bag. He wasn't, and Ellis was rattled enough that he threw the ball away. LSU tied the game with no outs.

Gainey walked Michael Braswell but got out of the jam to send the game to extra innings, tied 10-10.

In the top of the 10th, a really odd attempt to steal home with 2 outs ended with Blake Jackson getting thrown out by a mile...until Gamecock catcher Cole Messina alerted the umpiring crew of some broken rules on the play.

When the umps convened, they recognized that LSU pitcher Griffin Herring didn't step off the rubber before throwing home. That meant the throw was a legal pitch. Catcher Alex Milazzo stepped up in front of the plate to receive the pitch, resulting in both a balk and catcher interference. Cole Messina also stole 3rd base while LSU appealed, but a Dylan Brewer groundout ended the inning, for real this time.

After a break of almost 20 minutes in which everyone argued something and LSU head coach Jay Johnson was ejected, the Gamecocks took their gifted 11-10 lead into the bottom of the 10th. A malfunction with the pitch-com system put LSU's first batter on base, and freshman Steven Milam hit a walk-off 2-run bomb to win the game 12-11.

Cole Messina extended his SEC Tournament RBI record to 16 RBI, and the Gamecocks set a couple of team records, as well.

The Gamecocks tied the 1995 Kentucky Wildcats for the most errors in a single SEC Tournament. Their 12 mistakes on defense officially have matched the '95 'Cats, but anyone who has watched this tournament knows that USC has committed close to 20 errors. They also set a new SEC Tournament record for most times hit by pitches in a single tournament.


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