Top-ranked Lexington advanced to the Class 4A Lower State baseball championship round by defeating Region 5 rival South Aiken 4-1 on Monday.
The surging Wildcats (25-4) have won 13 of 14 since going 2-2 at the elite USA Baseball Invitational tournament in North Carolina in late March.
Josh Reagan beat the Thoroughbreds for the third time this season, scattering seven hits on the way to a complete game victory to improve his season record to 10-0. The senior southpaw ace has been brilliant in the playoffs with a 3-0 record and a 0.70 ERA with 28 strikeouts and one walk in 20 innings of work. Regan fanned eight South Aiken batters with no walks and 63 of his 93 pitches were strikes. He started 18 of the 26 hitters he faced with a strike.
Offensively, catcher Nick Ciuffo led the way with two hits and two RBIs.
In the first, Ryan Brown led off with a single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Dalton Addy. South Aiken declined to walk Ciuffo with first base open and paid for the decision. The South Carolina-bound senior drilled a single to center field to plate Brown.
Ciuffo had another RBI single in the fourth, scoring Jordan Buster with two outs.
Lexington gave Reagan breathing room with two runs in the third. Singles by Addy and Zack Paquette got things going. Addy eventually scored on an error and Paquette came in on a sacrifice fly by Cole McMillan.
The Wildcats face the loser’s bracket survivor on Friday with a berth in the state championship series at stake. Lexington hasn’t advanced to the best-of-three title series since 2003 and hasn’t won a state championship since 1999.