SOUTH CAROLINA DOWNS DUKE TO KEEP SEASON ALIVE
It’s not a postseason collapse … at least not yet.
The University of South Carolina baseball team – on the verge of getting bounced from its own NCAA regional for the second time in three seasons – rallied for a pair of runs in the top of the ninth inning to defeat Duke University in an elimination game in Columbia, S.C.
With the game knotted at two runs apiece entering the final frame, sophomore catcher Hunter Taylor doubled home junior outfield Dom Thompson-Williams for the game-winning run. A wild pitch from Duke’s Mitch Stallings providing an insurance run four batters later – and South Carolina shut down the Blue Devils in the bottom half of the inning to claim a 4-2 victory.
The No. 14 Gamecocks (43-16) snapped a three-game losing streak with Saturday’s victory – and extended their season for at least one more game.
South Carolina is in its fourth campaign under head coach Chad Holbrook. In his first season at the helm (2013), Holbrook’s team went 43-20 and made it to the NCAA Super Regional in Chapel Hill, N.C. The following year, the Gamecocks posted a 44-18 mark but failed to make it out of their home regional for the first time since 1976.
Last year’s team posted a dismal 32-25 mark and failed to reach the NCAA postseason for the first time since 1999.
“Baseball can change so quickly,” Holbrook said after the game. “Maybe this win will help our team play like we’ve played all season.”
Under former coach (now athletics director) Ray Tanner, South Carolina won national titles in 2010 and 2011 and was the runner-up at the College World Series in 2012.