Yet another floundering performance in the SEC Tournament was followed by yet another return to championship form in the Regionals series, as Carolina went 3-0 in the series to punch its ticket to the Super Regionals. As in past years, the Gamecocks really turned their level of play up a notch for the postseason, giving us hope that they might have another deep run in them. We defeated fourth-seeded St. Louis once and third-seeded Liberty twice en route to advancing. The three wins extended Carolina's NCAA-record 27-game postseason home winning streak.
The surprise of the weekend was likely the play of Liberty. The flames, who are coached by former Ray Tanner assistant Jim Toman, came to Columbia intending not just to enjoy the visit but to win some ball games. They did just that, sending two-seed Clemson home by going 2-0 against the Tigers. The Flames didn't do well in their second game, a blowout loss to Carolina, but they made things tense for the Gamecocks in the rematch, getting the go-ahead run to the plate in the ninth inning. Unfortunately for Liberty, Tyler Webb got the strikeout to end the game, but the Flames deserve some credit for marching into a big-time SEC stadium and playing their giant-killer role valiantly.
Carolina will take on either North Carolina in Chapel Hill or Florida Atlantic in Columbia, depending on who wins the game between the Tar Heels and the Owls.