For the past couple of games, South Carolina has been searching for a big swing — the kind of swing that breaks games open.
Before Saturday, the Gamecocks (20-9, 7-4 SEC) had put up a combined four runs and eight hits in their last two games, resulting in a midweek loss to North Carolina and a Game 1 loss to Missouri at home on Friday night.
In the fifth inning of Saturday’s 11-1 win over Mizzou, the Gamecocks finally found the offensive jolt they needed.
Junior center fielder Brady Allen — one of the team’s veteran leaders and most consistent spark plugs — turned on a pitch low in the zone and drilled it over the left-field fence for a three-run home run. The Gamecocks continued to build their lead from there.
Before that frame, Tigers right-hander Spencer Miles had held the Gamecocks offense in check, holding the team hitless through three innings and scoreless through four, while using a fastball that touched 93 miles per hour with life up in the zone.
Allen’s homer, his ninth of the year, knocked Miles out of rhythm and allowed the Gamecocks to dig into the underbelly of Mizzou’s bullpen, where the real damage was done. The Gamecocks churned through three Tigers pitchers in a six-run sixth inning, scoring on three bases-loaded walks, two wild pitches and a sacrifice fly.
While a somewhat unconventional six-run outburst, it allowed the Gamecocks to cruise to the finish and tie the series at 1-1. USC is looking to win its third straight SEC series after opening conference play with a series loss at Vanderbilt.
On the mound, USC starter Brannon Jordan threw five gutsy innings, working his way in and out of trouble with four walks and eight strikeouts. The right-hander allowed just two hits, with his lone run scoring on a wild pitch. Unafraid to challenge hitters up in the zone with his 88-91 mph fastball, Jordan was able to reach back for swings and misses in key situations.
In the sixth inning, Jordan gave way to reliever Daniel Lloyd, who threw four scoreless innings to preserve the USC lead.
Next USC Baseball Game
Who: South Carolina (20-9, 7-4 SEC) vs. Missouri (11-18, 4-7)
When: 12 p.m. Sunday
Where: Founders Park
Watch: SEC Network