After Saturday night’s 12-2 win over host East Carolina, USC is in the driver’s seat in the Greenville, NC Regional. The Gamecocks will play the winner of ECU and Binghampton Sunday at 6:00 with a chance to clinch the regional.
Blake Cooper went the distance on the mound and Justin Dalles and Adam Matthews provided the offensive fireworks to lead the Gamecocks to within one win of a Super Regional.
Cooper didn’t allow a run until the 8th inning when East Carolina hit a two run homer. He scattered 14 hits in his nine innings of work and managed to get out of several jams. The Pirates left 12 runners on base. Cooper struck out six and walked two. It was his third complete game of the season.
Dalles had a monster night at the plate. He went four for five with two home runs and seven RBI’s. One of those home runs was a grand slam in the seventh inning the busted the game wide open. The Gamecocks scored six runs that inning to take a 12-0 lead.
Matthews had his best day as a Gamecock. Getting the start in the DH spot he went four for five with two home runs. He also scored three times.
The Gamecocks improve to 40-21 this season. It is the tenth straight year the team has won 40 or more games.
East Carolina and Binghampton will play at 2:00 Sunday. The winner will have to beat USC twice to advance. Ray Tanner plans to start freshman lefty Nolan Belcher tomorrow.
AUDIO: USC post East Carolina presser (9:30)
(USC baseball coach Ray Tanner along with starting pitcher Blake Cooper, catcher Justin Dalles and D.H. Adam Matthews)