And so it continues.
The Gamecocks defeated the Tigers 4-3 in Columbia today, which means that for the third year in a row, South Carolina will play in an NCAA Super Regional.
USC (43-17) got out to an early lead, when they put up three runs in the first inning. Joey Pankake led off with a triple that was almost a home run, and then Evan Marzilli hit a sac fly to bring Pankake home.
Christian Walker walked to put runners at first and second, and he scored on an Adam Matthews RBI single. Connor Bright concluded the scoring with a RBI double to the wall.
The Cocks had a chance to increase their lead in the second inning, but left Pankake and Chase Vergason stranded at second and third. Clemson (35-28) had an opportunity to cut the lead in the third inning, but they also left runners stranded. Carolina missed a scoring chance in the fifth inning, too, when they were unable to bring runners home.
The sixth inning saw runs from both teams. English doubled and got to third on a throwing error by the Tigers. He even could’ve scored, had he not been dusting off his uniform. Vergason then singled, bringing English across the plate. A sac bunt by Dante Rosenberg (who was a stud behind the plate again today) sent Vergason to second, but he never made it home.
Richie Shaffer knocked a single to put runners on the corners. Phil Pohl grounded out to bring Brittle across the plate, but that was as far as that rally would go.
The Gamecocks looked to have a win locked up, until the bottom of the ninth. Jay Baum laced a single and advanced to second on a John McGibbon strikeout. Spencer Kieboom hit a single of his own to bring Baum in and make the score 4-3. With one out, power player Brad Felder was up and Clemson fans had some hope. Unfortunately for them, Felder flied it out end the game and give South Carolina the victory.
USC starter Jordan Montgomery was fantastic on the mound today. He pitched 6 2/3 innings and allowed only two runs on five hits. He walked only one batter and struck out six. He also sent down 12 Tigers in a row at one point. Montgomery earned the win, improving his record to 5-1. Tyler Webb was the only other to see action for the Yardcocks today, and he gave up one run on two hits in 2 1/3 innings of work. He didn’t walk anybody and K’d four. With the win, Webb got his third save of the year.
David Haselden started for CU, but did not have the kind of showing that anyone in orange and purple could’ve hoped for. He lasted only 2/3 of an inning. He allowed three runs on three hits and also issued a walk. Haselden took the loss and drops to 4-2 on the season. Reliever Jonathan Meyer pitched the remaining 8 1/3 innings and performed incredibly well. He gave up only one run on seven hits, while walking two and striking out four.
There was excellent defense on both sides this afternoon, although CU did have two errors. Carolina outhit Clemson 10-7. LB Dantzler went 2-for-3 at the plate to lead USC. English had his team-leading 21st multi-hit game of the season. Pankake notched his third triple of the year, and Bright’s double was the first extra base hit of his career. Baum led CU at the plate, going 1-for-3. No one on the team had more than one hit.
Matthews, who had six RBI this weekend, was named the MVP of the Columbia Regional and was also selected to the All-Tournament Team for the Regional. Five of his teammates, Vergason, Dantzler, Pankake, Montgomery, and Colby Holmes, were chosen as well.
Kieboom, Felder, and Pohl were picked, too. The team was rounded out by Rich Witten and Jacob May from Coastal; no Manhattan players were selected.
There was a sellout crowd at Carolina Stadium again today, the second of this Regional, 13 of the year, and 24th in stadium history. This win is the Gamecocks’ 19th consecutive postseason win, keeping the NCAA record streak alive. Carolina has now won 22 straight postseason games at home and they’re 11-0 at Carolina Stadium.
Clemson’s season is now over, while the Cocks will make their 10th Super Regional appearance in the last 13 years next week, and will host the winner of the Charlottesville Regional.