Cole Messina’s Bat and All-Hands-On-Deck Pitching Propel Gamecocks to Upset Victory Over Arkansas.

South Carolina’s baseball team faced off against the No. 2 seed Arkansas Razorbacks in the SEC Tournament’s second round on Thursday, aiming to advance to the winners’ bracket for only the second time in program history (the first being in 2004). A standout performance at the plate by junior catcher Cole Messina and strong efforts from key pitchers propelled the Gamecocks to a 6-5 upset victory over the Razorbacks.

South Carolina quickly put a run on the board in the first inning. Two two-out walks drawn by Blake Jackson and Cole Messina set the stage for a Parker Noland single, bringing Jackson home to make it 1-0. Arkansas responded in the bottom of the second inning, tying the game at 1 with a sequence of singles and a groundout. However, the Gamecocks regained the lead in the next half-inning with an RBI single from Messina.

Carolina starter Eli Jones navigated the first three innings with minimal trouble but encountered issues in the fourth after a throwing error to second baseman Parker Noland prevented a double play, leaving runners on the corners with no outs. Reliever Ty Good allowed a sacrifice fly that scored a run but then escaped the inning.

In the top of the fifth, after Jackson was hit by a pitch, Messina hit a two-run homer to center field, putting the Gamecocks back in the lead. Good delivered clean fifth and sixth innings but struggled in the seventh, giving up two leadoff singles. Garrett Gainey came out of the bullpen but allowed Arkansas to score two runs on a double and a deep flyout, tying the game at 4.

With the game tied in the top of the ninth, Messina hit another two-run homer to center, securing a South Carolina victory. The Gamecocks will face the LSU Tigers in the winners’ bracket on Thursday night.