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June 1, 2014

Diamond Extra: Runners left hanging

What a difference a few hours can make.

On the same day it cranked out nine runs and shut out Campbell to avoid elimination, No. 1 South Carolina struggled to get anything going offensively against No. 2 Maryland.

It cost them a chance to play another day, as the Gamecocks lost 10-1 and watched the Terrapins dogpile in the infield.

The Gamecocks batted .351 overall against Campbell early Sunday afternoon. And USC had no problems driving runners in, as South Carolina batters hit .563 with runners on base and .615 with runners in scoring position.

But that didn't carry over to USC's second game of the day. Maryland pitchers held South Carolina to a .250 batting average Sunday night. The Gamecocks were even worse when it mattered.

They batted 2-for-15 (.133) with runners on base and went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position. USC never once loaded the bases.

The result? USC left 10 men on base. The Gamecocks were also outhit 13-9 in the last game of the season, yet outscored by nine runs.

USC's offensive troubles also stemmed from waiting too long to get things going in individual innings. USC batted relatively well (.357) with two outs, but went just 4-for-22 (.182) with one or no outs.

PLAYING THROUGH PAIN. USC head coach Chad Holbrook said after South Carolina's 9-0 victory over Campbell Sunday afternoon that sophomore Max Schrock had about a 50 percent chance of playing against Maryland later Sunday night.

But when the lineup cards were announced, Schrock was there in the two-spot, listed as the DH. Playing with obvious back pain - the Chapel Hill native was nearly picked off twice in the same inning because he couldn't get back to the bag as quickly as usual - Schrock managed to supply one of South Carolina's nine hits on the night.

Schrock was named to the All-Regional Team in the DH slot, finishing the Regional 8-for-16 (.500) with two RBIs and three runs scored.

He finishes the season with a .299 batting average, five homers and 20 RBIs in 35 games.

MARTIN FINISHES STRONG. Junior first baseman Kyle Martin was USC's top hitter in the 10-1 loss, going 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Martin batted .438 for the Regional with a team-leading five RBIs and one run scored en route to being named to the All-Regional Team. He also finishes the season as USC's top hitter overall.

The Greenville, South Carolina, native started all 62 games this season, batting .336 with five home runs and 38 RBIs.

PURE SPEED. In what might have been the last game of his South Carolina career, junior outfielder Tanner English showed off the speed that has endeared him to Gamecock fans since his freshman season.

English singled with two outs in the fourth inning, then advanced to second on a wild pitch while freshman Gene Cone was at the plate.

But English really turned on the jets a few moments later. With the ball still in Maryland left-hander Jake Drossner's glove, English broke for third, reaching the bag even before Maryland third baseman Jose Cuas could get there. The junior speedster and SEC All-Defensive team center fielder finished the season with 21 stolen bases on 24 attempts.

NOT TODAY. Maryland tested the arm of junior catcher Grayson Greiner early Sunday night, and the Terrapins quickly learned their lesson.

Maryland outfielder Charlie White, who had 24 stolen bases in 28 attempts entering the game, led off the game with a single through the right side. But when he tried to steal second on Greiner, White was thrown out to end the first inning.

The next inning, Maryland cleanup man Jose Cuas, who was 3-for-4 on stolen base attempts this season, tried to catch Greiner napping. The junior gunned him down as well.

ALL-REGIONAL TEAM. Second baseman DC Arendas, outfielder Tanner English, DH Max Schrock, first baseman Kyle Martin and pitcher Wil Crowe were named to the All-Regional Team. Maryland outfielder Charlie White was named the Columbia Regional MOP.

South Carolina and Maryland both had five players named to the All-Regional Team.

HOT VS. NOT. The Terrapins are now 14-2 in the month of May, while the Gamecocks stumbled at their own season's finish line. The Gamecocks closed out the regular season by winning seven of their final eight games, and won a weekend series at Vanderbilt. But USC faltered down the stretch, losing four of its last six games.

ALL-TIME SERIES. The Terrapins improved to 26-15 all-time against South Carolina, and 13-7 against the Gamecocks in Columbia. The nine-run margin in Maryland's 10-1 victory over South Carolina is the largest margin of any of the Terrapins' victories in the series.

The Terrapins are now 4-6 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, and will advance to their first-ever Super Regional.


Friday, May 30
Game 1 - Maryland 4, Old Dominion 3.
Game 2 - South Carolina 5, Campbell 2.

Saturday, May 31
Game 3 - Campbell 4, Old Dominion 1
Game 4 - Maryland 4, South Carolina 3.

Sunday, June 1
Game 5 - South Carolina 9, Campbell 0.
Game 6 - Maryland 10, South Carolina 1.

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