There will be another game here in Greenville, NC to determine who moves on to play North Carolina in the Super Regional next weekend. East Carolina used the power of the long ball and was able to hang on late to get by USC 8-6 Sunday night at Clark-LeClair Stadium.
ECU got to Gamecock starter Nolan Belcher early. A three-run shot in the first inning by DH Kyle Roller got the scoring started. A solo home run by Dustin Harrington in the fourth and a grand slam in the 7th by first baseman Brandon Henderson gave the Pirates an 8-0 lead and enough of a working margin to carry them the rest of the way.
The Gamecocks made it interesting in the ninth. With one out and trailing 8-2, Justin Dalles hit a two run homer to cut the lead to 8-4. Carolina managed to load the bases and Brady Thomas, inserted to pinch hit, doubled in two more to cut the score to 8-6. That left runners on second and third with just one out.
But with Whit Merrifield popped out to first and Jeffery Jones flew out to center to end the ball game.
AUDIO: USC vs East Carolina post game (7:12)
(Gamecock coach Ray Tanner, outfielder Whit Merrifield, third baseman Andrew Crisp and pitcher Nolan Belcher at the podium)
The two teams will meet again Monday at 6:00 in a winner take all game. Early indications are the Gamecocks plan to start right hander Jay Brown against the Pirates.
We’ll be here again on Monday and have complete coverage on SportsTalk and more post game audio here on the site.