COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina claimed both ends of a doubleheader with Missouri, completing a three-game Southeastern Conference baseball series sweep of the Tigers with an 8-1 win in game one and a 5-4 walk-off victory in 12 innings in the nightcap Saturday at Founders Park.
Ethan Petry homered twice in the twin bill, including the game-tying, two-run shot in the eighth inning of game two, then won the second contest for South Carolina with a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the 12th inning to preserve the Gamecocks perfect start to the SEC season.
Ty Wilmsmeyer carried the Tigers throughout the day, both at the plate and on the mound. The senior logged two-hit performances in each game, then worked the final 5.0 innings of the night cap to bolster a depleted Mizzou pitching staff and keep the Tigers in the contest.
South Carolina (23-2, 6-0 SEC) powered up to hit four home runs in the opener and starting pitcher Noah Hall (5-0) took care of the rest. The senior right-hander struck out 10 and limited the Tigers (17-6, 3-3 SEC) to one run on five hits over his 7.0 innings.
Gavin Casas led the Gamecocks with a 4-for-5 effort in game one, while Evan Stone accounted for two of USC’s four round-trippers—his first two home runs of the season. Casas’ one-out single and a two-run Petry home run staked the Gamecocks to a 2-0 lead just three hitters into the opening contest.
Mizzou starting pitcher Ian Lohse (0-2) retired the first Gamecock hitter of the first, but was forced to leave the game due to injury after throwing just eight pitches.
Kyle Potthoff provided relief, working 3 2/3 innings and keeping the Gamecocks from inflicting further damage until the fourth, when Stone lifted his first home run over the wall in left to counter Mizzou’s lone scoring rally in the top of the inning.
Hank Zeisler, who finished 2-for-3, registered doubles in each of his first two plate appearances, including a leadoff two-bagger to kick off the fourth. With one out, Wilmsmeyer lined a double of his own into the left-center field gap to chase Zeisler home for what would prove to be the lone Tiger run of the contest.
From there, Hall was in control, retiring the next 11 Tiger hitters in succession to finish his afternoon. Chris Veach and Cade Austin followed with scoreless innings to close out the victory for South Carolina.
South Carolina employed the same formula of strong starting pitching and a two-run homer to build a 2-0 lead. Jack Mahoney stymied the Tigers through four frames, allowing just two walks and a hit batsman, matching a shutdown effort by Mizzou starter Austin Troesser.
Carson Hornung supplied the power this time, driving a Daniel Wissler offering into the Gamecocks bullpen in right-center field after Talmadge LeCroy drew a two-out walk in the home half of the fourth.
Mizzou answered in the fifth, using a leadoff hit by Wilmsmeyer and back-to-back doubles from Matt Garcia and Justin Colon to engineer its first scoring threat of the game. Carlos Peña followed with a sacrifice fly to center to bring in Garcia with the tying run.
Wilmsmeyer delivered again in the sixth, driving in the go-ahead tally with a triple to left, then trotting home on Garcia’s RBI grounder to make it a two-run Mizzou advantage.
After keying that critical offensive surge, Wilmsmeyer then rescued a weary Mizzou bullpen, taking over on the mound for Wissler in the seventh and promptly retiring the side in order to protect the 4-2 lead.
But Petry pulled the Gamecocks even with a towering two-run shot to left-center following a leadoff walk to Casas.
Wilmsmeyer bounced back to keep USC off the scoreboard for the ensuing three innings, striking out four and scattering four hits in his 5.0 total innings.
After Mizzou failed to produce a run after putting a pair of runners aboard in both the 10th and 12th frames, the Gamecocks finally got to Wilmsmeyer in the 12th. A walk to Will Tippett and a Braylen Wimmer bunt single set the table, before an intentional pass to Casas loaded the bases.
Petry followed with a line drive to center, easily bringing in Tippett with the game winner. In all, Petry finished the three-game set 7-for-14 with three homers and six RBIs to lead South Carolina.
Wilmsmeyer finished the day a combined 4-for-10 with two runs scored and two RBIs.
• Mizzou dropped to 13-20 all-time vs. South Carolina and 2-13 in Columbia, S.C.
• The Tigers suffered back-to-back losses for the first time this season with their game one setback and sustained three straight losses for the first time since May 6-13, 2022, when they dropped four in a row.
• Wilmsmeyer’s 5.0 innings and four strikeouts both marked career bests for the senior, who was making just his fifth career mound appearance for the Tigers.
• Mizzou was swept in a three-game SEC series for the first time since dropping all three contests at Ole Miss, May 6-8, 2022.
• The Tigers pitching staff fanned 14 batters in game two, giving it 16 double-digit strikeout performances in their 23 games this season.
• Mizzou’s lineup struck out a total of 29 times in the doubleheader and 44 times in the three-game series.
Mizzou will take on Illinois at 6:30 p.m. (CDT) on Tuesday (March 28) at GCS Credit Union Ballpark in Sauget, Ill.
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