Gamecocks Earn NCAA Tournament Bid; Head to Greenville Regional
COLUMBIA -- The University of South Carolina baseball team will head to the Greenville Regional, hosted by East Carolina University, it was announced Monday afternoon (May 28). The Gamecocks make their 32nd appearance in the NCAA Tournament and will face Ohio State on Friday, June 1 at 2 p.m. with the game televised on ESPN2. East Carolina and UNC Wilmington will play the second game Friday at 7 p.m. in the double elimination tournament.
The Gamecocks have a 33-24 mark heading into NCAA Tournament play. Carolina went 1-2 in the SEC Tournament, defeating Missouri 4-2 while falling to Arkansas 13-8 and LSU 6-4 in 12 innings. LT Tolbert was named to the All-SEC Tournament team after the event. Carolina ended the regular season with five straight SEC series wins, including a sweep of LSU and two wins against No. 4 national seed Ole Miss.
Ohio State comes into the NCAA Tournament after going 2-2 at the Big Ten Tournament in Omaha, defeating Iowa and Michigan before falling to Minnesota, 8-1. The Buckeyes are 36-22 overall and finished with a 14-10 Big Ten record. Noah McGowan leads OSU with a .359 batting average and nine home runs while Seth Kinker has a 1.49 ERA and 15 saves in 28 appearances.
East Carolina, who is the No. 12 seed in the tournament, is coming off winning the American Athletic Conference Tournament, defeating Connecticut, 4-3, in the championship game. ECU comes into the tournament with a 43-16 overall record and a 14-10 mark in conference. Bryant Packard leads the Pirates with a .403 batting average to go along with 14 home runs and 50 RBI. Chris Holba is 9-1 with a 2.45 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 77 innings pitched.
The fourth team in the Greenville Regional is UNC Wilmington, who earned the automatic bid out of the Colonial, defeating Northeastern 7-4 on Saturday night. UNCW heads into postseason play with a 37-21 overall record and a 14-9 mark in conference play. Mason Berne leads the Seahawks with a .335 average while Ryan Jeffers has 20 doubles and 54 RBI. On the mound, Alex Royalty has 85 strikeouts in 88 innings pitched.
Carolina was one of 10 SEC schools to make the field. The winner of the Greenville Regional will face the winner of the Fayetteville Regional in next week’s Super Regional round.