Missouri baseball upsets No. 11 South Carolina on the road

Reid Glenn

Down two runs with two outs in the fifth, Missouri baseball was in danger of wasting a golden opportunity to score and win its third straight game.

The Tigers loaded the bases when Torin Montgomery singled, Brandt Belk was hit by a pitch and Andrew Keefer was walked. Luke Mann struck out looking and Garret Rice stepped up to the plate 0-1 for the day with a .200 batting average.

Rice stepped up big time, ripping a double over the left-center wall, scoring three to give Missouri the lead. The Tigers picked up momentum from the rally and held on to win 7-2.

Missouri (11-17, 4-6 Southeastern Conference) starter Seth Halvorsen pitched just well enough to hold No. 11 South Carolina (19-9, 6-4) at bay. Halvorsen gave up six walks over four innings pitched. He got out of almost every jam he put himself in, allowing two runs in the second inning. When Halvorsen found the zone, he racked up seven strikeouts.

Lukas Veinbergs came out in relief in the fifth inning and did even better than his predecessor. Pitching with confidence, Veinbergs picked up his first win of the year, going five scoreless innings walking only two and striking out five.

Despite pitching for an inning longer than Halvorsen, Veinbergs was far more efficient, throwing 69 pitches compared to 95. The two only gave up five hits combined.

Nearly all of Missouri’s offensive production came from the first three hitters in the lineup. Mark Vierling, Montgomery and Belk combined to go 7 for 12 with four doubles. The rest of the order? 2 for 25.

To their credit, Josh Day is coming off a stint on the injured list, and Rice led the team in RBI with three off of his double that gave Missouri the lead. Day had the other hit from the back end of the lineup.

Luke Mann struck out five times, four swinging and one looking. The rest of the lineup had seven Ks with both Day and catcher Mike Coletta getting rung up twice.

Missouri had a baserunner in scoring position in every inning except the fourth, showing some consistency for a lineup that has been anything but this season. The Tigers added on to their lead with three more runs in the sixth, helped out by a throwing error from South Carolina third baseman Jack Mahoney.

For good measure, Missouri tacked on another run in the top of the eighth. It wasn’t necessary, however, as the South Carolina bats stayed unusually quiet.

The Tigers will hope that continues as the series continues Saturday and Sunday.