MO State HS Sports

Baseball Rides Early Surge to Victory Over No. 14 South Carolina

Carter Rustad

COLUMBIA, Mo. – On a day that saw University of Missouri baseball honor its tradition of excellence, the Tigers took a step toward establishing a present-day standard of success with a convincing 8-3 victory over No. 14 South Carolina Saturday at Taylor Stadium.

Mizzou (21-27, 7-16 SEC), which recognized the 70th anniversary of its 1954 national championship team as part of Alumni Day festivities prior to the game, rebounded from a 10-2 setback in the opening game of the series with a complete effort against the Gamecocks to take game two. The Tigers used a four-run, first-inning rally to establish control of the contest, then rode the shutdown relief work of Carter Rustad (5-6) to victory.

After being pressed into early action, Rustad handcuffed the Gamecocks (31-15, 12-11 SEC) for 6 2/3 innings — the longest of his Mizzou career — to help the Tigers even the Southeastern Conference series at one game apiece.

Drew Culbertson drove in three of the Tigers’ first five runs of the afternoon, twice burning the Gamecocks with run-scoring hits after USC elected to intentionally walk Matt Garcia in order to pitch to the Mizzou freshman shortstop. After MU took a 2-0 lead on run-producing hits by Trevor Austin and Mateo Serna in the first, Culbertson beat out a chopper to the right side for an infield hit that brought in two baserunners to double the MU advantage to four runs.

Two innings later, Culbertson struck again following a free pass to Garcia that gave the Tigers runners at first and third with one out. Culbertson singled to right on an 0-2 pitch — one of five two-strike hits that plated runs for Mizzou — to chase home Serna for a 5-0 Mizzou lead. The Tigers added two more tallies in the fourth on Jackson Lovich’s two-out triple off the center field wall, stretching the margin to seven runs.

Rustad, who took over for Javyn Pimental just 15 pitches into the contest after the Tigers starter was forced to leave due to an apparent injury, fanned six Gamecocks and scattered three runs on five hits without issuing a walk. He rode the momentum of Mizzou’s early rally through five shutout innings to start the afternoon. The right-hander worked out of a bases-loaded jam to keep USC off the scoreboard in the first, then faced the minimum over the ensuing four frames while the Tigers continued to build their lead.

South Carolina finally broke through in the sixth on back-to-back run-scoring hits by Cole Messina and Luke Casas that cut the deficit to 7-2.

But the Tigers answered with a run in the bottom half of the sixth, cashing in on a walk and a hit batsman when Jedier Hernandez delivered his second hit of the day to bring home Brock Daniels with the eighth MU run.

Blake Jackson added a two-out solo shot for the Gamecocks in the seventh, before Mizzou reliever Brock Lucas closed out the contest with 2.0 scoreless innings.


  • With the victory, the Tigers improved to 14-21 all-time vs. South Carolina.
  • MU defeated the Gamecocks at home for the eighth time in its last 10 games with USC at Taylor Stadium (dating back to 2017).
  • The Tigers’ win over No. 14 USC marked their fifth victory over a top 25 SEC squad this season — all of which have come at Taylor Stadium (5-3).
  • After entering the contest with three RBIs as a Tiger, Culbertson doubled his career total with his 2-for-4 afternoon.
  • Austin logged his 14th multi-hit performance of the year with a 2-for-4 day at the plate.
  • Lovich (2-for-4) tallied his fourth-straight two-hit game and the 15th multi-hit effort of his Mizzou career.
  • Lovich’s fourth-inning triple moved the sophomore into a tie with Texas A&M’s Caden Sorrell for the SEC lead for triples (4).
  • Serna (1-for-4) has reached safely in nine-straight games, with at least one hit in all but one of those contests (since April 9).
  • Rustad’s 6.2 IP marked his longest relief outing as a collegiate pitcher; it also represented his longest outing since working a 9.0 inning complete game for San Diego vs. Gonzaga on May 28, 2021.

Mizzou and South Carolina will conclude their series Sunday (May 5) with a 1 p.m. rubber match. Single-game tickets for all remaining 2024 home contests are on sale now via phone at 1-800-CAT-PAWS or by visiting

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This article is provided by University of Missouri Athletics