USC staved off elimination and stayed alive in its NCAA Regional Saturday. The Gamecocks scraped, scratched and clawed out a win over Duke in a 4-2 win that kept their season alive. They aren’t out of the woods, not even by a long shot, but they are still in the hunt in the Columbia Regional.
With its back against the wall nothing came easy for USC. The scored a run in the first and another in the 2nd and then went into six inning slump. Erstwhile Duke scored a run in the third to cut the lead to 2-1, then tied it in the 6th on a solo homer by Justin Bellinger.
Braden Webb started on the mound and like Clarke Schmidt Friday night looked outstanding for the first few innings, then collapsed around the third. He was pulled with no one out in the 4th inning and runners on first and 2nd. Josh Reagan inherited a 3 ball count and walked the bases loaded but escaped the jam unscathed. Other than the solo homer to Bellinger in the 6th, Reagan was strong. He pitched 4 2/3 innings, allowed two its and struck out four.
USC pulled ahead in the 9th inning when Dom Thompson-Williams led off the inning with a hit, was sacrificed over to 2nd, then scored on an RBI double by Hunter Taylor. Taylor was only playing because John Jones was late for the team meal and benched. His grounder hit 3rd base and went into the corner for the game winning RBI. The Gamecocks tacked on an insurance run for Tyler Johnson, who pitched 1 1 /3 innings for his second win of the season.
USC still still needs three more wins to advance to the Super Regional round. They will face the loser of UNCW and Rhode Island at noon Sunday. If they win that game they will play the winner of the UNCW-Rhode Island game at 6:00. If they win that, they would have to beat that same team again Monday to advance.
USC post-game press conference