Missouri right-hander Reggie McClain was dominant for seven innings and Breckin Williams closed the door on South Carolina in record-setting fashion Tuesday in a 5-1 win during the opening round of the SEC Baseball Tournament in Hoover, Ala.
McClain, a junior from Duluth, Ga., by way of Manatee Community College in Florida, scattered six hits and allowed only one unearned run, while striking out four as he leveled his season record at 7-7.
He cruised into the eighth before allowing a leadoff single and double, but Williams, a junior right-hander from Webb City (Mo.) High School, mowed through the heart of South Carolina’s order, including a pair of strikeouts, to preserve a two-run lead.
The seventh-seeded Tigers, 30-26, then tacked on a pair of insurance runs before Williams finished off the first SEC baseball tourney win in program history with his school-record 13th save of the season.
“It’s a critical game and I was up for it,” McClain said. “I just approached it mentally like any other game, just knowing that if I did my part and tried to stay myself when I pitch then we were going to be in good position. Having a back-end guy like Breckin, you know that when he gets in the game it’s lights out.”
Missouri grabbed the lead in the second inning on an RBI single by freshman Trey Harris and a sacrifice fly by senior Jake Ivory.
Harris opened the Tigers’ fourth with a double and scored on junior Zach Lavy’s RBI single for a 3-1 lead.
Lavy and freshman Shane Benes added eighth-inning RBIs for Missouri, which advances to the double-elimination portion of the tourney.
The Tigers, who are on the NCAA tourney bubble, tangle with No. 2 seed Vanderbilt at 1 p.m. Wednesday in a game that will be televised on the SEC Network.
Junior Peter Fairbanks is expected to start for Missouri.