Destino was 2 for 4 to go along with his four RBIs and Jonah Bride went 3 for 4.
That proved more than enough for USC starter Braden Webb (8-2) who, like Houck, is considered one of college baseball’s top pitchers.
SC matched its SEC win total from a season ago, topping Missouri 5-1 Saturday afternoon for its 13 conference win of the year.
Ian Nelson and Kirby McGuire each had two hits, with one of Nelson’s being a two-run single in the second. Zach Lavy led off with an infield single and Brett Bond was hit by a pitch with one out. He is now tied with Merrifield who set the 26-game mark over the course of the 2009 and 2010 seasons.
Jeremy Walker (6-4) pitched six innings and allowed one unearned run, striking out eight, for the Bulldogs.
The Tigers led 4-1 heading into the bottom of the sixth, but the Gamecocks scored four runs in the frame and added three in the eighth to lead 8-4.
Junior Jake Ring had the lone RBI for Missouri on his fifth inning single.
CSU (15-25, 3-11) didn’t respond until the third, when Nate Blanchard’s double cut the lead to 3-1, but Gardner-Webb blew open the game with six runs in the bottom of the inning.
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. Sophomore right-hander Tyler Johnson allowed just a solo homer in 2.2 innings and struck out four for his third save of the season.
The Gamecocks got on the board in the first inning, taking a 2-0 lead. Gene Cone doubled down the right field line and scored on John Jones’ second hit of the night, a two-out RBI single to left-center.
Jonah Bride has six hits in the series with three apiece in the first two games vs. Missouri.
“Anytime you compete, battle and win a game against an arm like (Missouri starting pitcher Tanner) Houck, you’ve got to feel good about your team”, said USC coach Chad Holbrook. I feel very relieved and fortunate that we were able to get this one when things didn’t look that hot at some points in the game. SC got the bases loaded with no outs and could have done more damage, but left them loaded instead. 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. 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”.