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South Carolina baseball’s 9-4 win saves road series vs. Missouri


South Carolina baseball needed to win Sunday’s rubber match against Missouri. A conference series loss to the Tigers could have dramatically changed the Gamecocks’ postseason fortunes.

After the Tigers’ hot start, things looked tough for No. 14 South Carolina (32-15, 13-11 SEC), but eight runs in the final three innings finally clinched the series with a 9-4 victory in Columbia, Missouri .

On Wednesday, the Gamecocks were expected to host a regional as the No. 10 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, but a loss to the Tigers (21-28, 7-17) would have been difficult for the selection committee to ignore.

South Carolina won 10-2 on Friday, but lost Saturday’s game 8-3. Sunday’s rally not only saved the weekend, but also prevented a possible drop in placements.

When Austin Brinling’s huge catch against the wall prevented a grand slam, the momentum returned to the Gamecocks.

They trailed 4-1 early, but Dalton Reeves’ solo homer and Ethan Petry’s 18th home run of the season, which extended his hitting streak to seven games, tied the score at 4-4 in the top of the seventh. They took the lead with three runs in the eighth.

South Carolina baseball’s pitching change on Sunday is paying off

Missouri scored four runs in 1.1 innings off junior right-hander Dylan Eskew, who was replaced by Garrett Gainey. Gainey struck out five, allowed one hit and no runs in 3.2 innings.

Connor McCreery came in for 2.2 innings and picked up the win, giving up one hit and striking out four. After a 30-minute delay due to lightning, Chris Veach came in and got a timely strikeout to end the eighth.

Cole Messina huge for baseball in South Carolina vs. Missouri

Cole Messina had five RBIs for the Gamecocks on Friday as they scored double-digit runs for the fourth straight game. In the fifth, he hit a two-run double and in the eighth, his three-run homer was part of a five-run inning.

“If (Messina) goes, it helps our offense a lot. He’s one of our best players, obviously one of the best in the country, so when he does well, the other guys really seem to follow,” coach Mark said Kingston. from Messina.

In Saturday’s 8-3 loss, Messina had an RBI triple, giving him a 9-for-16 stat line in his past five games. On Sunday, Messina closed the series with a homerun, an RBI, one double, three singles and two runs scored. The junior catcher from Summerville, South Carolina entered Sunday’s game with 51 hits, 48 ​​RBIs and 13 home runs this season.

NCAA TOURNAMENT: Where South Carolina baseball ranks in the latest NCAA Tournament field predictions

Lulu Kesin covers South Carolina athletics for The Greenville News and the USA TODAY Network. Email her at [email protected] and follow her on X, formerly known as Twitter, @Lulukesin