Weather again forced the No. 2 Gamecocks to wait to play a game, but they made it worth the wait by beating No. 4 UNC-Wilmington to advance to the Super Regionals, just a year after not even making it into the tournament.
South Carolina got on the board first, taking a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning. Carlos Cortes led off with a single, Jonah Bride knocked a one-out base hit, and Justin Row walked to load the bases, the Hunter Taylor doubled to bring two runners home. The Seahawks ended the shutout in the bottom of the inning, making it 2-1 on a two-out RBI single.
That score held until the Gamecocks added a couple of insurance runs in the top of the sixth inning. Danny Blair walked to start things off, Cortes singled, and Madison Stokes came through with an RBI sac fly to make the score 3-1. Bride reached first on a fielder’s choice and Row walked to load the bases again, then LT Tolbert tallied an RBI single to put USC up 4-1. UNCW got those runs back in the bottom of the inning thanks to a two-run homer that made the score 4-3.
The Gamecocks answered right back in the top of the seventh. Blair reached first on a throwing error with one out, Cortes walked, and Stokes doubled to bring them both in and make it 6-3.
Both teams scored in the ninth inning, with South Carolina tacking on a bit more insurance in the top of the inning after Stokes singled and Bride went yard to put the Gamecocks up 8-3. The Seahawks scored the final run of the game on an RBI sac fly.
Starter Carmen Mlodzinski did a great job, working five innings and giving up four hits and three runs. Mlodzinski walked three batters and also struck three out, and he earned the win. Eddy Demurias and Sawyer Bridges also pitched in this game, and they did a great job as well. The only real downside of this game was that USC left about 100 runners stranded, but they got enough home to get the win, so that’s something. Stranding the bases loaded four times in one game probably isn’t a strategy to repeat going forward, though.
South Carolina now advances to play No. 1 Arkansas in the Fayetteville Super Regional.