South Carolina hit four homers as it eliminated Mizzou Baseball from the SEC Tournament with a 10-2 win Thursday at Hoover Met Stadium. With Mizzou trailing 3-0 in the fourth inning, junior Alex Samples (Bridgeport, Texas) just missed a game-tying homer off the top of the wall for an RBI double. South Carolina’s Carlos Cortes then hit a three-run homer in the top of the fifth inning to sink the Tigers. Mizzou sits at 36-23 on the year, winning its most games since 2008, and will now await its NCAA Tournament fate. The selection show is Monday (May 29) at 11 a.m.
Mizzou junior RHP Cole Bartlett (Williamsburg, Ind.) took the loss, pitching on short rest. He allowed six runs (five earned) on eight hits with four strikeouts and two walks. He surrendered three homers, including the Cortes shot that put the game away. South Carolina’s Will Crowe earned the win, improving to 6-5 on the year. Cortes was the story for the Gamecocks, hitting a pair of three-run homers in the game.
After Mizzou failed to take advantage of a two-base error in the bottom of the first, Carolina drew first blood, getting a solo shot from DH Alex Destino on a 3-2 pitch that went over the home bullpen in right field. It was Destino’s 10th homer of the year. The Tigers then botched a double-play ball with one out, putting runners on second and third after the error. That led to an RBI infield single to give the Gamecocks a 2-0 lead early.
After Crowe retired the first two batters in the third inning, Mizzou mounted a rally that was sparked by a Connor Brumfield (Columbia, Mo.) walk. Trey Harris (Powder Springs, Ga.) singled and Robbie Glendinning (Scarborough, Australia) walked to load the bases for Brett Bond (St. Louis, Mo.). Crowe got Bond to go 0-2 and then struck him out two pitches later to strand the bases loaded.
South Carolina carried the momentum from escaping that jam into the fourth inning as Jonah Bride hit a one-out solo homer to give the Gamecocks a 3-0 lead.
Mizzou got on the board and nearly tied the game in the bottom of the fourth as Samples hit a 1-2 pitch off the top of the wall in left field, missing a game-tying three-run homer by inches. It turned out to be an RBI double as Kameron Misner (Poplar Bluff, Mo.) scored from third on the play. Brumfield then struck out to strand a pair as Mizzou left six men on base through six.
Cortes then delivered the big blow, a three-run homer to right field, putting the Gamecocks on top, 6-1. That turned out to be the decisive homer as South Carolina hung four more runs in the sixth as it advanced to the next round to face either Kentucky or LSU in an elimination game. Junior Nelson Mompierre (Miami, Fla.) hit a ninth-inning pinch-hit homer for the second consecutive game.