USC scored three runs with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning to overcome a 3-1 deficit and went on to a 4-3 win over Virginia in game one of the Columbia Regional of the NCAA Tournament. The Gamecocks move into the winner’s bracket and will face either top seed Old Dominion or Jacksonville Saturday night. Virginia drops into the loser’s bracket game at noon Saturday.
George Callil led off the Gamecock sixth with a walk against Virginia starter Andrew Abbott who had limited the Gamecocks to two hits, including a Wes Clarke homer in the first. After getting two outs, Abbott faced Clarke again, and again the Gamecock slugger got to him. Clarke lined a double to left center that hopped the fence forcing Callil to return to third. Josiah Sightler followed with his own ground-rule double down the right field line, driving in two and tying the game at three.
Abbott was pulled at that point for Kyle Whitten. He walked Brennan Milone on a 3-2 pitch, and Colin Burgess followed with an RBI single to left for a 4-3 Gamecock lead.
The game now was in the right hand of Gamecock reliever Daniel Lloyd who replaced fellow reliever Julian Bosnic to start the seventh. And Lloyd was lights out. He gave up a single to the first batter he faced, and he was bunted to second. But Lloyd got a strike out and a ground out to end that inning, and retired the final six Cavalier batters, including striking out the side in the ninth.
Brett Kerry started for USC, but he was dealing with a stiff neck that had bothered him all week and didn’t have his best stuff. He was lifted for Bosnic in the third after giving up solo home runs to the Gelof brothers, Zack and Jake. Bosnic inherited the 2-1 deficit, and Virginia added a run in the fourth for a 3-1 lead. But from that point, Bosnic and Lloyd kept the Cavs off the board and gave their offense a chance to put together a rally.
Bosnic earned the win to improve to 4-2, and Lloyd picked up his second save. The Gamecocks are 34-21. They will start Thomas Farr in their game Saturday night.