South Carolina 3B Jonah Bride hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the top of the six inning as Mizzou dropped the first of a three-game series, 4-3, Friday night at Taylor Stadium. Freshman LHP T.J. Sikkema (DeWitt, Iowa) was charged with his first loss of the season in 20 appearances (7-1) as he made his first career start Friday. He was masterful, going 5.2 innings with five strikeouts and just one walk. He scattered four hits, but three went for extra-bases. Bride hit the go-ahead homer on a full count with two outs off reliever Cole Bartlett (Williamsburg, Ind.) after Sikkema walked the final batter he faced in his outing.
Mizzou falls to 29-21 on the year and 9-16 in SEC play while South Carolina goes to 30-19 and 12-13 in SEC play. RHP Will Crowe (5-4) earned the win, pitching 7.0 innings while allowing just four Mizzou hits. The Tigers led 2-0 after posting a two-spot in the third and made a late charge with a run in the eighth inning
In his first career start, Sikkema looked up to the task in the first inning, carving up the Gamecocks on 13 pitches, picking a strikeout looking to end the frame. Both pitchers looked sharp early until South Carolina got a one-out double in the top of the third inning. Sikkema then made a great play for the third out of the frame, snaring a liner up the middle to strand a runner on third.
Junior 3B Alex Samples (Bridgeport, Texas) led off the bottom of the third inning with a single into right center. He was driven in on an RBI triple by SS Chris Cornelius (St. Louis, Mo.) to give Mizzou an early 1-0 lead. The Tigers tacked on another run on a wild pitch, taking a 2-0 lead after three.
After a top of the fourth that saw Sikkema pick up two more strikeouts, Robbie Glendinning (Scarborough, Australia) led off Mizzou’s half with his 12th double of the year. Mizzou could not knock him and South Carolina used the momentum of that to finally get to Sikkema in the fifth. Three straight hits, including back-to-back doubles, the latter scoring two runs, tied the game at 2-2.
Bride then hit his two-run homer in the top of the sixth inning to give the Gamecocks their first lead of the game at 4-2. It came on a 3-2 pitch off Bartlett, who had just entered the game after Sikkema walked the 23rd and final batter he faced in the outing. Bartlett pitched really well despite the homer, scattering just three hits over 3.1 innings with four strikeouts and a walk.
Crowe kept Mizzou off the board in the sixth and the seventh before giving way to LHP Josh Reagan in the bottom of the eighth. He surrendered back-to-back hits to Kirby McGuire (Round Rock, Texas) and then an RBI double to Connor Brumfield (Columbia, Mo.) as the Tigers cut the lead to 4-3.