COLUMBIA, MO.—Coming into Friday's start, Reid Morgan had done a good job keeping the mental mistakes to a minimum with just four wild pitches and no balks in 63.1 innings spanning 10 starts.
Against Missouri, those mental mistakes ultimately undid an otherwise solid start for the junior as the Gamecocks faltered late again, dropping Friday's season-opener 5-2.
With the game deadlocked at two for the majority of the middle innings, Morgan was the first pitcher to blink, giving up the game-winning run on a wild pitch for his fourth-straight loss.
It was a weird outing for Morgan (3-4, 3.63 ERA), who didn't give up much hard contact but gave up three runs—one on a bloop single, another on a balk and the third on that wild pitch—scattering eight hits over six innings.
It's his seventh quality start in 11 appearances this season. He struck out six to just one walk.
The Gamecocks (24-18, 5-14 SEC) jumped out to a quick lead in the third inning, using three two-out hits to plate two runs, capped by an Andrew Eyster double down the left field line.
It was short-lived, though, with Missouri getting both runs back in the bottom of the inning.
After a leadoff walk, Morgan gave up two infield singles before a single to no-man's land in shallow right field scored a run and Morgan balked in another.
Missouri took the lead in the seventh after a leadoff double, an infield single where Morgan and Jacob Olson collided while simultaneously trying to field a bunt, and a wild pitch.
Offensively the Gamecocks had a hard time getting to starter Jacob Cantleberry despite putting pressure on the Tigers all night.
They'd strand nine and hit 3-for-14 with runners on base, 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
Cantleberry finished allowing seven hits but gave up a lot of hard hit balls to his defense.
With the game tied at the time, Josiah Sightler looked to hit a run-scoring double but a diving play at first robbed him of extra bases and the Gamecocks had a few more balls hit well to the outfield but right at the defense.
Missouri added two more runs in the seventh off Gage Hinson to pad its lead.
Player of the game: Andrew Eyster finished the game with two hits in three at-bats, driving in two runs and walking once.
Key moment: When going to field a bunt, Reid Morgan and Jacob Olson collied, allowing a runner to reach, which ultimately led to the game-winning run coming across.
Up next: South Carolina tries to even the series Saturday night with first pitch from Taylor Stadium scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on the SEC Network Plus. Cam Tringali (2-1, 3.33 ERA) is scheduled to start.