The big news today is that the Gamecocks lost an extra-inning heartbreaker to ECU that cost them a chance to go to Chapel Hill to take on the Tar Heels in the Super Regional. There's no real way to sugarcoat this loss. We led 6-0 in the fifth, 9-6 going into the bottom of the ninth, we left 15-20 men on base over the course of the game; in short, we blew numerous chances to put this one away from both an offensive and pitching standpoint. Congrats are in order for ECU's Devin Harris, who stepped up in a big way when the game was on the line. Harris hit the game-tying homer in the bottom of the ninth to send the game into extra innings and the winning single in the tenth. Harris and ECU were clutch; USC, not so much.
All of that said, this was always supposed to be a transitional year, so we should probably be grateful that it ended with such strong play. It's hard to stomach losing like this when we were so close to getting a shot to make Omaha, but I think we can say "wait 'til next year" about this team with slightly more sanguinity than we have when we use that phrase in reference to the football team.
A few more tidbits:
Phil Steele believes that we have the toughest schedule in the nation in 2009. Considering that we have inter-division games against Ole Miss, 'Bama, and an improved Arkansas and out-of-conference games against NC State and Clemson, it's hard to argue with Steele. Eight wins will be a real achievement if we get there. Unfortunately for this team and the coaching staff, I don't think the alternative is acceptable. Pressure? Nah.
- Tomahawk Nation has a nice column up on the NC State game. He sees the game as one of the ACC's most important non-con games. While I don't agree with his pick, it's always interesting to see how a neutral observer views us, so his column is worth a look.
- Don't Tase Me, Bro!