The Gamecocks got off to a lackluster start in the first game of this series against Mizzou, but they showed us why you should never count them out, rallying late in the game for an important victory.
After quiet first innings for both teams, the Tigers took a 2-0 lead in the second inning on a single by Ian Nelson. They tacked on another run in the next inning thanks to a sac fly from Trey Harris.
South Carolina got on the board to end the shutout in the bottom of the third. Gene Cone extended his hitting streak to 25 games - tying the school single-season record - with a double, then he came home on a two-out RBI single from John Jones, making it 3-1.
The sixth inning included another Mizzou run and a four-run rally by the Gamecocks. In the top of the inning, the Tigers made it 4-1 on an RBI double by Jake Ring. Things were looking bleak for the Gamecocks, but then suddenly their fortunes changed in the bottom of the inning. Alex Destino led off with a double, a Tigers error got Jonah Bride to first base and brought Destino home, and then another error helped LT Tolbert get to first base. DC Arendas walked with one out, Marcus Mooney knocked an RBI single to make it 4-3, and then Cone came through with a two-run double to give South Carolina a lead for the first time in the game.
The Gamecocks added three insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. Arendas and Mooney took back-to-back one-out walks, then Cone came through again with an RBI single to make it 6-4. Dom Thompson-Williams followed with an RBI double, and a wild pitch brought Cone in for South Carolina's final run of the game.
The Tigers' final run came when Zach Lavy homered in the ninth.
Cone has been really solid all season, and he - along with several teammates - really came through in the clutch tonight. Despite the offense's lackluster showing in the first half of the game, it was encouraging to see the team fight back for the win. They did get help from Mizzou in the form of the two errors, but they capitalized on those mistakes and managed to shift the momentum in their direction, which was good to see. Cone did make one little mistake early in the game, forgetting how many outs there were in an inning, but he more than made up for it with his bat.
Gamecocks starter Clarke Schmidt wasn't quite his normal, super sharp self tonight, but he still did a decent job. Schmidt worked 5.2 innings and allowed nine hits, four runs, walked two batters, and struck out five. Reed Scott and Tyler Johnson also pitched tonight.
With the win, South Carolina improves to 31-8 overall and 12-4 in the SEC, while Missouri drops to 20-19 overall and 4-12 in conference play. They'll meet again on Saturday afternoon, with first pitch set for 4 p.m. Braden Webb will start on the mound for the Gamecocks and Tanner Houck will go for the Tigers.