USC’s long run of postseason domination at home is over. Maryland eliminated USC from the postseason with a 10-1 win at Carolina Stadium Sunday night. It’s the first time since 2000 the Gamecocks season has ended on their home field, and it’s the first time since 1976 that they lost a home regional.
USC had its back against the wall, so Chad Holbrook decided to start Joel Seddon, who has spent the season as the Gamecocks closer. Initially, the plan worked to perfection. USC scored a run in the bottom of the first to take the early lead, and Seddon was more than holding his own in his first start in more than a year. But trouble started brewing in the middle innings; the Terps put two on the board in the fourth inning, one in the fifth, two in the six and one more in the second. Then Maryland blew it completely open in the top of the ninth with four more runs to make it 10-1.
“You have to give credit to them,” Chad Holbrook said. “Sometimes you make a mistake and maybe they’ll foul it off, but when we made a mistake against those guys they made us pay.”
Things obviously snowballed on the Gamecocks late, but their biggest problem was their inability to come up with a big hit. A program that has made its living on clutch hitting finished 0-7 with runners in scoring position. Conversely, Maryland was 5-16 with RISP, dominating that category the same way they did in a 4-3 win over the Gamecocks Saturday night.
“We kind of let them off the hook a little bit there by not getting a hit with runners in scoring position,” Holbrook said. “A lot of our opportunities with runners in scoring position came with two outs over the course of the weekend, and we just couldn’t get that big two out hit. You score one run in a regional championship game, you are going to have a very, very difficult time winning. We just couldn’t get that big hit offensively.”
So, just like that it is all over for USC. They finish with 44 wins and a lot of questions about what is next. USC has been on a golden run the past four years, three trips to the College World Series, two national titles, a Super Regional final a year ago. You knew the run was going to end sometime. Sunday night in Columbia, it official did. It’s the first time since 2009 the Gamecocks failed to reach the Super Regional round.
Yeah, it was a good season, “Holbrook said. “But good isn’t good enough around here, and I understand that. ..There are some good kids in that locker room that are hurting. They understand, at South Carolina, good isn’t good enough. It was a good season, but we’ve got to do better.”