Baseball defeats No. 6 South Carolina on late game heroics

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 11.36.46 AM

By Kevin Levine, 23 Sports

Saturday, March 21-

The Tigers clinched their series against South Carolina in walk-off fashion, 4-3, the fourth time they’ve won on a walk-off this season.

The Tigers were led by freshman pitcher Tanner Houck, who pitched a gem. Houck pitched a career high 8.0 innings, giving up just eight hits, and retiring the final eight batters he faced, as well as striking out the side in the eighth.

But the hero of the night was freshman Trey Harris. Harris hit a walk-off single in the tenth inning to win the game. Mizzou had only recorded a single hit through the first five innings, but started to catch fire by the sixth.

After scoring once in the seventh to cut the lead to one, the Tigers scored again in the eighth inning on an RBI single by sophomore Ryan Howard to tie the game, thus taking it to extra innings.

In the top of the tenth, South Carolina took the lead again with a lone run.

In the bottom of the tenth, Missouri’s Jake Ring led things off with a double to the left-center gap, and Howard singled to put runners on the corners. Junior Josh Lester then hit a sac-fly to center, scoring Ring and tying the game.

Zach Lavy walked up with two outs, moving Howard to second and bringing Harris to the plate. With a 1-2 count, Harris hit a ground-ball up the middle into centerfield, allowing Howard to score from second base to win the game.

With the win, Mizzou moves to 18-5 on the season, and is an undefeated 5-0 in SEC play, sitting atop the SEC East standings. The Mizzou faithful have begun rallying behind the team, with a record 2,032 fans showing up to Taylor Stadium, the largest crowd the Tigers have had since the stadium was remodeled in the 2013 season.

The Tigers have also secured their first series win over a top-10 team since 2008 when they swept fifth-ranked Nebraska.

Mizzou is looking for the sweep on Sunday, when they return to Kaufman stadium behind the arm of Peter Fairbanks (2-2, 1.52 ERA) against the Gamecocks’ Clarke Schmidt (2-0, 2.45 ERA).