Founders Park: USC produced single greatest scoring inning since 2010 when they put 11 runs on the board in the fourth inning of a 19-1 win over Central Connecticut State in the opening round of the Columbia Regional. The 19 runs equaled the Gamecocks’ output for their previous six games combined.
The Gamecocks will play NC State Saturday night in the winner’s bracket. The Wolfpack defeated Campbell 5-1 in the first game Friday afternoon.
The Gamecocks already led 5-0 when they came to bat in the bottom of the fourth. Over the next 45 minutes, 17 hitters would come to the plate. They would deliver six hits, draw six walks, reach once on an error and steal a base. Six different Gamecocks had RBI hits in the inning. The most productive ones were a three-run double by Michael Braswell, a two-run double by Cole Messina, and two-run singles by Gavin Casas and Dylan Brewer.
The Gamecocks took a 1-0 lead in the second on a bases loaded walk to Ethan Petry. They scored four runs in the third, three coming on a homer by Will McGillis, his first since March 24th.
The Gamecocks pounded out 16 hits with every starter having at least one hit. Casas led the way with three hits and three RBIs. Petry also homered, his team high 23rd of the season.
James Hicks (8-1) gave USC a second straight shutout performance on the mound as he faced one batter over the minimum. He allowed one hit over five innings while striking out six and walking none. He did hit a batter. Hicks threw 62 pitches, 41 for strikes.
Will Sanders, making his first appearance since May 5th, worked a perfect sixth with two strike outs. Austin Williams and Connor McCreery pitched the final three innings with Williamson allowing three hits and a run in his two innings.
The Gamecocks are 40-19, their first 40-win season since 2016. The Blue Devils fall to 36-12. The elimination game Saturday is set for Noon, the winner’s bracket matchup will start at 6:00 PM.
USC and NC State, former ACC rivals, will be meeting in an NCAA Tournament game in Columbia for just the second time. USC downed State 4-3 on May 25th, 1975.