South Carolina baseball mounts comeback against Missouri to win series

Things looked bleak for South Carolina when Missouri’s Jackson Lovich barreled up a breaking ball that was sailing deep into center. It looked like a goner. South Carolina pitcher Garrett Gainey watched the ball in fear.

Then just before he ran into the fence, USC centerfielder Austin Brinling leapt from the warning track, reached his arm over the wall and robber what would’ve been a grand slam. Instead of being down six runs, the Gamecocks were only down three.

“This might have saved the game, might have saved the series for South Carolina,” the commentator said on SEC Network+.

That it did. It kept the deficit manageable for South Carolina (32-15, 13-11 SEC), which scored a half-dozen combined runs in the seventh and eighth innings to earn a 9-4 victory. The win gives South Carolina the series win and keeps it in solid position to host a regional.

After rolling to a 10-2 win over the Tigers on Friday, South Carolina stumbled on Saturday as starter Eli Jones struggled in an 8-3 loss. The Gamecocks needed a victory on Sunday against a Missouri squad (21-28, 7-17 SEC) that has one of the SEC’s worst records.

Even after Brinling’s superb robbery, South Carolina had work to do. Gainey, who replaced starter Dyaln Eskew after just 1.1 innings, was getting things done on the mound, striking out five in just under four innings.

But the spark at the plate took a little longer. Finally the dam burst. Dalton Reeves smacked a solo home run in the seventh inning and, four batters later, slugger Ethan Petry’s 18th bomb of the year evened the score.

This has happened before. A few months ago, Petry sent the Gamecocks game against Clemson into extra innings with a clutch home run — only for South Carolina to falter soon after. This go-round, the Gamecocks were able to capitalize.

They added three more runs in the eighth and then catcher Cole Messina added an insurance run with a solo shot on the first pitch of the ninth inning.

It was the perfect ending to one of the best weekends of Messina’s career. The Gamecocks’ junior catcher went 7 for 11 with two dingers, 7 RBIs and 3 walks. On Sunday, he was a triple shy of the cycle and the Gamecocks’ offensive catalyst.


  • Tuesday: at Winthrop, 6 pm (ESPN Plus)

  • Thursday: vs. Georgia, 4 pm (ESPNU)

  • Friday: vs. Georgia, 2 pm (SEC Network)

  • Saturday: vs. Georgia, 2 pm (SEC Network Plus)

  • 2 pm (SEC Network Plus)