Wendell Shepherd – 23 Sports

This weekend Mizzou baseball traveled to the other Columbia to take on the No. 11 South Carolina Gamecocks. The Tigers are coming into this series with some momentum, winning their first SEC series last weekend against Texas A&M.

The Gamecocks got out to a quick 2-0 lead in the second inning of Friday’s series opener. Seth Halvorsen started on the mound for the Tigers. Halvorsen was not his sharpest on Friday, but he kept the Gamecocks off-balance, allowing two runs on only three hits. Halvorsen walked six and struck out seven in four innings of work.  The top of the Tigers lineup, Vierling, Montgomery and Belk were huge contributors for the Tigers on Friday. Vierling and Montgomery each had two hits, Belk doubled three times. Freshman Garrett Rice gave the Tigers the lead in the fifth on a bases-clearing triple. The Tigers added three more in the following inning on one of Belk’s doubles and a South Carolina throwing error which scored two Tigers. Montgomery added a seventh run for the Tigers in the top of the eighth on a single to shallow left. Reliever Lukas Veinbergs was stellar. Veinbergs pitched five scoreless innings, allowing only two hits and striking out five. The Tigers captured the first game of the series by a score of 7-2.

Game two of the series on Saturday afternoon began as a pitcher’s duel with Spencer Miles on the bump for the Tigers. The first three frames went scoreless for both teams. Torin Montgomery got on the board for the Tigers in the fourth on a wild pitch following his double and a groundout by Belk. Miles kept the Gamecocks in check for much of the afternoon, but they would get on the board in the bottom of the fifth with a three-run homer. Miles loaded the bases in the following inning before he left the game. While the stat sheet might say otherwise, Saturday was a return to form for the sophomore right-hander who had struggled in his last few outings. The Tiger bullpen struggled, allowing six runs in the sixth inning on three walks, two wild pitches, and a sacrifice fly, bringing the score to 9-1. South Carolina added two more in the eighth on an RBI single and a fielder’s choice. The Tiger lineup was held scoreless after the run in the fourth, only amassing six hits. The Gamecocks grabbed the W by a score of 11-1.

Sunday afternoon’s game started the best way it could. Mark Vierling sent the first pitch of the game deep over the left-field fence to give the Tigers an early 1-0 lead. The game quickly turned in the Gamecocks favor in the bottom of the first as the Gamecocks scored two on a single to right field. The Gamecocks continued to tag Tiger pitcher Zach Hise in the 2nd, hitting a two-run home run to give them a 4-1 lead. Josh Day added a deep solo homer in the fourth to bring the score to 4-2. Freshman Garrett Rice continued to solidify his place in the Tiger lineup, singling and bringing in a run in the sixth. Belk had an RBI single in the seventh to bring the Tiger run total to four. Four Tiger pitchers threw in relief, giving up seven runs over four innings. The Tigers lost by a final score of 13-4

Sunday’s loss brings the Tigers record in SEC play to 4-8. The Tigers will take on their neighbors from the South in the Missouri State Bears on Tuesday night at Taylor Stadium. Mizzou will then travel to Gainesville to take on the Florida Gators in a three-game series beginning on Friday.

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