USC advanced to the Super Regional round of the NCAA tournament with a tidy 10-2 win over Virginia Tech Sunday night in Columbia. The Gamecocks will face the winner of Monday’s Coastal Carolina- College of Charleston game in the next weekend.
USC postgame news conference
If Coastal Carolina wins the Super Regional will be in Conway, if Charleston wins it will be played in Columbia. The winner of that series will advance to the College World Series in Omaha.
For the third straight night USC had to come from behind to get the win. The Hokie’s hit a two run homer in the bottom of the first off Gamecock starting pitcher Jay Brown. Brown only pitched 3 2/3 innings before he was relieved by Jose Mata in the 4th.
Matta was incredible during his 4 1/3 innings of work. He only allowed two hits and struck out five during his stint on the mound. Michael Roth pitched a perfect 9th to clinch the game and the regional for the Gamecocks.
That great effort out of the bullpen combined with ten unanswered runs was the recipe for a third consecutive win for the Gamecocks. They are now 46-15 on the season.
Third baseman Adrian Morales was named the tournament’s most outstanding player. He was seven of thirteen with three homeruns with seven RBI’s over the weekend. Not too shabby.
Virginia Tech postgame news conference
Things really seem to be falling into place for USC to make their first trip back to Omaha since 2004. Regardless of what happens in the Coastal Carolina-Charleston game Monday the Gamecocks know they will not have to leave the state for the super regional. Even if they have to go to Coastal they will bring an army of fans with them and it will be pretty darn close to a neutral site. If anything, USC fans could outnumber the Chant’s fans.
Sure, Coastal Carolina is a number four national seed and a team that won 50 plus games this season, but as we have seen over the weekend, they are vulnerable. It took a bottom of the 9th homerun Sunday just to avoid elimination against the Cougars.
If the College of Charleston wins, Carolina gets another weekend at home in a series against a Southern Conference runner-up that they beat 6-3 during a mid-week game in the regular season. I’m not trying to knock Monte Lee and the Cougars, but I just don’t see them taking two of three against USC in Columbia.
After a rough end to the season the Gamecocks appear to have put things back together in this Regional. The offense, which scored a total of five runs in its four losses down the stretch scored 28 runs in three games during the regional. From a pitching standpoint, starter Sam Dyson was a little shaky on the mound Friday but he wasn’t terrible. Blake Cooper was stellar on Saturday and Jay Brown was serviceable on Sunday. As noted earlier, the bullpen was lights out all weekend.
Most importantly a team that entered the postseason staggering a bit now has its confidence back. It might just be enough swagger to strut all the way to Omaha.