South Carolina looked poised to lock up another SEC series victory on Saturday, until things took a turn late in the game and the Gamecocks lost to Missouri 8-7, setting up a rubber game on Sunday.
The Tigers got on the board early, going up 1-0 in the second on a solo shot by Fox Leum. USC answered in the next inning, taking a 2-1 lead after Colin Burgess singled to lead off and Brandt Belk smacked a two-run homer. That score held until the sixth, when both teams added a run to their totals. In the top of the inning, the Cocks made it 3-1 on a home run by Carson Hornung, then Mizzou made the score 3-2 with a Luke Mann dinger in the bottom of the inning.
Carolina tacked on a couple of insurance runs in the top of the eighth, when Braylen Wimmer went yard with one out to put them up 4-2, then Thad Ector later scored on a base hit by Michael Braswell to make it 5-2. Unfortunately, the Gamecocks bullpen did its thing in the bottom of the inning and the Tigers scored five runs, putting them up 7-5 thanks to a hit batter, a walk, a single from Leum, and a Nander De Sedas home run.
South Carolina responded in the ninth by tying the game at 7-7 after a pair of walks and a double by Belk, but Missouri walked it off on a flyout from Tre Morris in the bottom of the inning.
Gamecocks starter Will Sanders worked seven innings and gave up seven hits and two runs. He didn’t walk any batters and struck out four. Aidan Hunter, Michael Esposito, Cade Austin, and Braswell combined to go the rest of the way for USC, and Braswell took the loss, making him 1-2. Tigers reliever Nathan Landry got the win and is now 2-2. Belk led the Cocks at the plate with two hits and four RBI. Leum paced Mizzou at the plate with three hits, while he and De Sedas each tallied three RBI.
Carolina is now 13-13 overall and 3-5 in the SEC, and the Tigers are 16-8 overall and 2-6 in conference play. The rubber game is set for 1 p.m. on Sunday in the other Columbia.