South Carolina’s No. 11 RPI and top-four SEC finish has put the Gamecocks in a good position to host an NCAA regional when the sites are announced Sunday. But it also doesn’t hurt that fans routinely fill Carolina Stadium.
At the conclusion of the regular season, USC ranked fourth nationally in average attendance at 7,436 per game, and fifth nationally in overall attendance with 237,961 in 32 home dates. The other schools ranked in the top five in both categories all compete in the SEC: LSU, Arkansas, Ole Miss and Mississippi State. Both the attendance figures and the continued national success in the NCAA tournament make the conference the epicenter of college baseball.
The Gamecocks love their home-field advantage. In the three NCAA regionals played at Carolina Stadium from 2010 to 2012, they have won all nine of their games.
South Carolina Four-O
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Heading into this season, the USC program had put together 25 seasons of 40 wins or more. The only season the Gamecocks won at least 40 but didn’t make the NCAA tournament came in 1991 under coach June Raines with a 40-22 record. That was the program’s last season in the Metro Conference. The Gamecocks have won 50 or more games six times.
The Big Least
Of the eight teams that made it to the double-elimination portion of the SEC tournament, two compete in the Eastern Division — Vanderbilt and South Carolina, the teams that were first and second, respectively, at the end of the regular season. Florida, Kentucky and Missouri didn’t last past the single-elimination round while Tennessee and Georgia didn’t make the tournament field.
The other six teams remaining play in the West — LSU, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Alabama, Mississippi State and Texas A&M. Only Auburn, which lost to Alabama, didn’t survive to keep playing.
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Mississippi State didn’t have it easy getting to the double-elimination portion of the bracket. The Bulldogs needed 17 innings to defeat Missouri 2-1 in Tuesday’s final game. The contest matched the longest game played in MSU history and was the longest in Missouri history. It also matched the longest SEC tournament game ever played.