Matt Connolly

5 regular season highlights for South Carolina baseball

South Carolina closer Tyler Johnson got the final out in a critical 2-1 win over Florida earlier this season.
South Carolina closer Tyler Johnson got the final out in a critical 2-1 win over Florida earlier this season. gmelendez@thestate.com

▪  March 4, Schmidt dominates Clemson: South Carolina’s ace shut down one of the top offenses in the country, striking out nine and pitching eight scoreless innings to lead USC to a win over its rival. Alex Destino went 5-for-5 with four RBIs as Carolina earned an 8-1 victory over the Tigers at Founders Park.

▪  March 26, Gamecocks complete sweep at Ole Miss: South Carolina got off to a great start to the season, but there were questions about the competition heading into a weekend series at No. 6 Ole Miss. The Gamecocks won the first two games of the series fairly easily but were not satisfied, finishing off a sweep of the Rebels with a 4-0 win on Saturday. USC let the nation know it was a new year with the road sweep of the Rebels to improve to 6-0 in the SEC.

▪  April 10, Reagan magical against Tennessee: South Carolina was trying to finish off a sweep of the Vols, leading 4-3 on Sunday, but Tennessee had the bases loaded with no outs in the ninth inning and the heart of its order due up. USC closer Josh Reagan was set to face a dangerous 3-4-5 trio of Nick Senzel, Vincent Jackson and Jordan Rodgers with no room for error. Reagan managed to escape the jam unscathed, getting a groundout, strikeout and infield popup to end the game and finish off the sweep.

▪  April 30, Webb, Johnson shut down No. 1 Florida: The Gamecocks had blown a late lead the night before and had no momentum entering Game 2 of a top five showdown with the top-ranked Gators. But Braden Webb and Tyler Johnson allowed only one run and USC got just enough offense to earn the crucial win. After Webb struck out seven and allowed one run on a solo homer in 7 1/3 innings, Johnson closed it out with a strikeout with two in scoring position to end the eighth inning and a strikeout with a runner on third to end the game.

▪  May 21, Gamecocks clinch SEC East: Alabama had not been swept all year before the Gamecocks went on the road and did so to finish off the regular season. USC clinched a share of the SEC East title Saturday afternoon when Florida lost Game 1 of a doubleheader with LSU. Then Carolina held on for a 9-7 victory over the Crimson Tide to win the division outright. This is USC’s seventh SEC East title, and the Gamecocks have advanced to the College World Series each of the previous four times they won the division.

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