April 23, 2016
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Junior outfielder Gene Cone tied Whit Merrifield’s school record 26-game hitting streak, sophomore outfielder Alex Destino drove in four runs and freshman right-hander Braden Webb struck out 10 batters as fourth-ranked South Carolina defeated Missouri 5-1 on Saturday afternoon to clinch the weekend series. The Gamecocks are 32-8 and 13-4 in the SEC with Missouri now 20-20 and 4-13 in league play.
Cone’s 26-game hitting streak is the longest in a single season in program history, surpassing the previous mark of 25 set by Greg Keatley in 1976. He is now tied with Merrifield, who set the 26-game mark over the course of the 2009 and 2010 seasons. Cone finished 2-for-3 with two runs. Destino was 2-for-4 to go along with his four RBI and Jonah Bride went 3-for-4 with a run scored.
Webb allowed one run on four hits with six walks and 10 strikeouts in 5.2 innings of work to earn the win. He is now 8-2 on the year. Junior left-hander Josh Reagan pitched 2.1 scoreless innings to earn his 11th save of the year. Missouri starter Tanner Houck suffered the loss and is 4-4 on the year. He allowed three runs, two earned, on six hits with two walks and five strikeouts in six innings.
South Carolina struck for a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning. Gene Cone led off with a single that was followed by Dom Thompson-Williams’ double to left field. After John Jones was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Alex Destino knocked a RBI single to right field to score Cone and Thompson-Williams giving the Gamecocks a 2-0 lead.
A passed ball would increase Carolina’s lead to 3-0 in the third inning. Jonah Bride doubled to open the frame and scored with one out as a pitch got past Missouri catcher Brett Bond. Missouri would get a run back in the fifth inning on a two-out RBI single by Jake Ring.
The Gamecocks would get some insurance in the seventh inning on Destino’s second two-run single of the game to make it 5-1.
Carolina came out of the gate strong with the first five batters reaching base and Destino driving in a pair with a two-run single in the first.
Webb allowed just four singles in the contest with Scott and Reagan not allowing a hit in 3.1 innings of relief.
Dom Thompson-Williams doubled in the first inning and leads the Gamecocks with 12 for the season.
In addition to his hitting streak, Cone has reached base in 29 consecutive games.
Jonah Bride has six hits in the series with three apiece in the first two games vs. Missouri.
Head Coach Chad Holbrook
Anytime you compete, battle and win a game, you’ve got to feel good about your team. I felt like we came to the park ready to go and we came out of the gates swinging. We got some good swings on them early, had them on the ropes a little bit there and could have done a little bit more damage than we did but (Houck) is so good he can pitch out of stuff. I told our guys, `He’s a great challenge and you are probably looking at one of the first few picks if not the number one pick of the 2017 draft’ and they battled and competed against him. Scratched enough and we pitched well enough to win. Braden [Webb] had some really good moments and he has got to eliminate the free bases, not eliminate but, six walks in five and two thirds is too much. Reed [Scott] once again got us some big outs. [Josh] Reagan was a great line to finish the game as well. Great series win for us, great day for us. We’ll come to the park ready to go tomorrow and hopefully we can play a really solid game and finish it off and make it a great weekend.
The series with Missouri concludes on Sunday. First pitch is set for 1:30 p.m. on SEC Network Plus and the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, “The Game.”