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No. 22 Mizzou drops road series against No. 11 South Carolina

Injuries doomed the Tigers and the Gamecocks capitalized

via Twitter / @MizzouPix

Missouri and South Carolina both came into this series with momentum, but only one stayed hot in their series this weekend.

Friday’s game was a rollercoaster of emotions for Missouri.

South Carolina struck first in the second inning when leadoff man Will McGillis launched a grand slam over the left field wall. But the Tigers had an ace up their sleeve, Luke Mann. In the third Mann responded with a 2-run HR of his own, and in the fourth he hit a 3-run HR, and then he hit a solo-shot in the 8th.

Mann’s torrid three-run performance powered Missouri to an 8-5 lead as they headed to the ninth, but things did not go according to plan for MU closer Zach Franklin.

Franklin entered in the eighth to relieve Rorik Maltrud who had gone 3.1 shutout innings following Chandler Murphy leaving the game due to injury. After throwing a scoreless eighth inning, Franklin had the Gamecocks down to their final out, but they refused to roll over.

A pair of singles tied the game at 8-8, and the Gamecocks completed the comeback after Justin Colon made a diving play in the hole but threw the ball away trying to get the force out at third. It would have been a spectacular play that Colon is 100% capable of making, but it just wasn’t the Tigers’ night as they lost 9-8.

For the second straight weekend, Missouri played the final two games of their series in a doubleheader. This time the games were on Saturday, and in Game 1 it was all South Carolina.

Ethan Petry immediately put the Gamecocks on top with a 2-run HR in the first inning, and that was all the run support Noah Hall would need. Hall stymied Missouri bats for 7 innings, allowing just 5 hits and 1 ER while striking out 10. The lone Missouri ran came courtesy of a Ty Wilsmeyer RBI double.

At the plate, CF Evan Stone launched two more home runs, and Gavin Casas added one of his own. Casas also added an RBI double. Cade Austin closed out the 8-1 win for South Carolina.

While getting blown out is bad enough, the results of Game 1 of the double header were made even worse as Ian Lohse was removed just 0.1 innings into his start with injury. Lohse, Murphy, and Tony Neubeck have all left games with injuries in the past week for Missouri.

Game 1 of the doubleheader was a breeze for South Carolina, but Game 2 couldn’t have been closer. After Mizzou starter Austin Troesser threw three shutout innings to start the game, South Carolina broke the scoreless tie with a Carson Hornung 2-run HR off Missouri reliever Daniel Wissler in the fourth inning.

Missouri promptly retied the game with a 2-run fifth inning thanks to RBI from Matthew Garcia and Carlos Peña. The Tigers took the lead in the sixth after a Wilmsmeyer RBI-triple, and Garcia added another on a fielder’s choice. But once again, South Carolina didn’t go down quietly.

In the 8th, Petry launched his third homer of the series and tied the score at 4-4. Petry’s homer was off Ty Wilmsmeyer, Missouri’s every day CF. Wilmsmeyer had pitched just two innings this year, but came in to relieve a depleted Missouri bullpen and pitched into the 12th inning giving Missouri 5+ innings of relief.

The Tigers left runners on base in the 10th, 11th and 12th, but couldn’t plate a run. In the bottom of the 12th, South Carolina broke the tie with a walk-off single to seal a 5-4 win and series sweep.

Player of the Weekend

Ty Wilmsmeyer had multiple hits in each game of this series and was 6-14 with 3 RBI, 2 doubles, and a triple. Wilsmeyer also flashed the leather and made a spectacular catch in CF on Friday night. Then on Sunday he spelled a Missouri bullpen that was close to empty with 5+ innings and gave Missouri multiple chances to win. While Missouri may not have won a game, Wilmsmeyer played his ass off in every single game of this series in every single facet of the game. There might not be a better all-around performance from a Missouri player the remainder of this year.