USC Gamecocks Baseball

Staying alive: Cortes, Crowe power Gamecocks past Missouri in Hoover

South Carolina’s recent power surge continued Thursday against Missouri as the Gamecocks blasted four home runs in a 10-2 victory against the Tigers to avoid elimination in the SEC Tournament.

Carlos Cortes hit a pair of three-run homers and Alex Destino and Jonah Bride each hit solo shots as the Gamecocks kept their season alive with the win.

This marks the first time South Carolina (34-24) has won two games in the SEC Tournament since 2007. USC will face Kentucky on Friday afternoon in another elimination game.

“No one’s faced the adversity that we have from an injury standpoint,” USC coach Chad Holbrook said. “To see my team come down here and catch their breath, play the way they’re capable of playing, it’s very satisfying to me. That being said, we’ve got some more baseball to play. We want to keep winning. We have a team that’s capable of winning.”

Wil Crowe (6-5) got the start on the mound for the Gamecocks and made big pitches when the game was still within reach.

The junior held Missouri to one run in six innings and struck out nine while throwing 122 pitches.

“In the pen, I knew I was going to be able to throw my fastball to both sides of the plate, and the slider as well was pretty tight in the bullpen,” Crowe said. “I knew I was going to be able to command the zone and really go after people today with those two pitches.”

USC led 2-0 in the third inning when the Tigers loaded the bases with two outs and had leading hitter Brett Bond at the plate, but Crowe struck the catcher out swinging to end the frame.

In the fourth inning, Missouri had runners on the corners with one out and was trailing 3-0 when Alex Samples was inches away from hitting a tying homer.

Instead, the ball went off the top of the wall and scored only one run. Crowe then got a shallow popup and a strikeout with two in scoring position to end the inning.

“Wil was terrific. He’s been a leader of our team and our program for a number of years now, a special player,” Holbrook said. “I’m glad he came back and led our team and had that moment today in the SEC Tournament and threw really well.”

It was all South Carolina from that point forward.

Cortes hit a three-run homer to right that left the stadium in the fifth inning to push USC’s lead to 6-1.

Then, in the sixth inning, Justin Row hit an RBI single and Cortes followed with another three-run bomb to give the Gamecocks at 10-1 lead. Cortes is hitting .327 in 30 SEC games with 10 homers and 32 RBIs.

“The nation’s getting to see what a gifted hitter Carlos Cortes is. He’s one of the more gifted hitters I’ve ever had a chance to coach,” Holbrook said. “His swing is as beautiful a swing as you’ll see in baseball, pro or college.”

USC has hit seven homers in three SEC Tournament games after not hitting any in the previous two trips to Hoover.

As a team, the Gamecocks have hit 57 home runs this season, which is their most since college baseball adopted the new bats in 2011.

“I think guys have finally relaxed and taken a deep breath and are rallying around each other and said, ‘We’re not going to go out not playing our best baseball,’ ” Holbrook said.

USC

ab

r

h

rbi

bb

k

Tolbert ss

4

0

0

0

0

0

Flint ss

0

0

0

0

0

0

Row 2b

4

2

2

1

1

2

Cortes lf

3

2

2

6

2

0

Hogan 1b

3

0

0

0

0

1

Williams 1b

2

0

0

0

0

0

Destino dh

4

1

3

1

0

0

Grosvenor ph

1

0

1

0

0

0

Bride 3b

4

1

1

1

0

0

Hopkins rf

5

1

1

0

0

3

Taylor c

5

1

1

0

0

3

Blair cf

4

2

3

1

0

1

TOTALS

39

10

14

10

3

10

Missouri

ab

r

h

rbi

bb

k

Brumfield cf

4

0

1

0

1

2

Harris dh

5

0

1

0

0

0

Glendinning 2b

4

0

0

0

1

0

Bond c

4

0

0

0

1

4

Misner lf/1b

4

1

1

0

0

3

McGuire rf

4

0

0

0

0

0

Cornelius ss

3

0

1

0

1

1

Samples 3b

3

0

1

1

0

1

Sharp 3b

1

0

0

0

0

0

Berler 1b

2

0

0

0

0

1

Balsamo ph/lf

1

0

0

0

0

0

Mompierre ph

1

1

1

1

0

0

TOTALS

36

2

6

2

4

12

USC

020

134

000

10

Missouri

000

100

001

2

E — Williams; Bride 2; Cornelius. DP — Miz 1. LOB — S. Carolina 7; Miz 11. 2B — Destino; Brumfield; Misner; Cornelius; Samples. HR — Cortes 2; Destino; Bride; Mompierre. HBP — Bride. SH — Tolbert.

USC

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Crowe W, 6-5

6

4

1

1

3

9

Bowers

1 2/3

0

0

0

1

1

Lawson

1 1/3

2

1

1

0

2

Missouri

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Bartlett L, 6-3

4 2/3

8

6

5

2

4

De Oca

3 1/3

5

4

4

1

5

Plassmeyer

1

1

0

0

0

1

WP — Bartlett. HBP — by Montes (Bride). Umpires — HP: Gregory Street 1B: Marcus Patillo 2B: Darrell Arnold 3B: Morris Hodges. T — 3:12 A — 7,279.

SEC Tournament

Who: USC vs. Kentucky

When: 4 p.m. Friday

Where: Hoover, Ala.

TV: SEC Network

Radio: 107.5 FM

Related stories from The State in Columbia SC

  Comments