May 11, 2014 COLUMBIA, S.C. –For the fifth time this season, 11th-ranked South Carolina won in walk-off fashion, defeating Missouri 2-1 on a RBI single by Joey Pankake in the bottom of the ninth to sweep the series on Sunday afternoon at Carolina Stadium. The Gamecocks improve to 39-13 and 16-11 in the SEC while the loss drops Missouri to 20-30 and 6-21 in the league.
Max Schrock opened the bottom of the ninth with a double to right-center and made it safely to third on a fielding error by Missouri center fielder Jake Ring. Missouri elected to intentionally walk Kyle Martin and Grayson Greiner to set up the force play and bring a fifth infielder in to try and get a force at home. Joey Pankake then belted a base hit to center field, scoring Schrock and sealing the victory for South Carolina. Pankake went 2-for-4 to lead the Gamecocks at the plate.
Junior right-hander Cody Mincey worked two scoreless innings to pick up his fifth win of the season and is now 5-0 on the year. Mincey allowed just one hit and struck out one batter. South Carolina starter Wil Crow hurled seven innings, giving up one run on four hits and one walk while striking out four batters. Keaton Steele suffers the loss for the Tigers and falls to 0-8 on the year.
Missouri took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning with a solo homerun off the bat of Dylan Kelly. The Gamecocks tied it up in the fifth inning as Tanner English led off with a base hit, stole second and scored on Patrick Harrington’s RBI single.
“We were very fortunate to get the win,” said South Carolina head coach Chad Holbrook. “It took great outings from Wil [Crowe] and Cody [Mincey] to keep them [Missouri] at bay, since we had our hands full with Keaton Steele [the Missouri pitcher]. We came into the game with the mind set that we were going to try and score three runs because he [Steele] was not going to give us much and he certainly didn’t. He is as good as there is in this league from a pitching stand point. That is about as well pitched of a game as we have had all year long. That kid will pitch for a long time. It was really neat to see Max [Schrock] step up there in the ninth and place the ball in the gap. He kept his head up running around the bases and he was not satisfied with the double. He saw the [Missouri center fielder] dive for [the ball] and push the ball away from himself which enabled Max to get to third. That changed the outlook of the whole inning with him getting a triple instead of a double. It was still going to be extremely hard to score with the lead off double so it made it a lot easier with the lead off triple. Kudos to Max; it was a great baseball play at a time when we really needed it. Joey was able to stay up there on the slider and got a game winner for us. Obviously it was a big win for us, with all the implications out there in league play, so I am proud of our team. We played clean baseball for the most part all weekend long. We were not that terrific offensively but at the same time you have to tip your hat to Missouri because they have a good pitching staff. We did enough to win and now we have a big week ahead of us.”