Gamecocks stick fork in Blue Devils to stay alive

uscbase-slideSouth Carolina’s bats came alive in the 9th inning as the Gamecocks fought off elimination and topped Duke 4-2 in game three of the 2016 NCAA Columbia Regional. With the win, the Gamecocks (43-16) advanced to Sunday, where another elimination game is on the docket at noon.

The Gamecocks and Blue Devils (33-24) were tied at 2-all heading into the 9th when junior Dom Thompson-Williams led off the inning with a walk. Following a sacrifice bunt, catcher Hunter Taylor doubled down the left field line to plate Thompson-Williams and give South Carolina the winning run. The Gamecocks added an insurance run later in the inning on a wild pitch.

Junior right-hander Tyler Johnson (2-2) earned the win for South Carolina, tossing 1.1 innings of scoreless relief to close the game. Senior lefty Trent Swart took the loss despite a noble effort; he allowed three runs in a season-high 8.0 innings while striking out four.

Taylor was making his fourth start of the season and his first since April 30. His hit was his first since April 16, and he had not driven a run home since March 16.

Senior Marcus Mooney went 2-for-4 at the plate with an RBI to lead the Gamecocks, while junior Gene Cone and freshman LT Tolbert also tallied two hits. Sophomore Justin Bellinger was Duke’s top hitter, going 2-for-3 with a home run.

Photo courtesy of USC Athletics

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