South Carolina jumped out to an early lead after a five-run fourth inning and rode a pair of strong pitching performances from starter Taylor Widener and reliever Josh Reagan as the Gamecocks handed UNCW a 10-5 season-ending setback on Tuesday in the championship game of the NCAA Columbia Regional at Founders Park.
With the win, South Carolina (46-16) advances to one of eight best-of-three Super Regionals where it will host Oklahoma State. The winners from each Super Regional moves onto the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. The Seahawks saw their season conclude with a 41-19 record.
Competing in the NCAA Regional Final for the second straight year and fifth time in program history, UNCW rallied from a seven-run deficit to make it 8-5 after eight full innings, but the Gamecocks put the finishing touches on an impressive weekend at the plate with three runs in the top of the ninth.
Madison Stokes and TJ Hopkins finished with three hits apiece, while Stokes drove in three runs. Alex Destino added two hits and two RBI’s for the Gamecocks.
South Carolina pushed five runs across the plate in the fourth on four hits and a pair of UNCW throwing errors. Destino and Stokes both had two-run singles to highlight the frame.
Zack Canada and Brian Mims led the Seahawks with two hits apiece, while Casey Golden was 1-for-3 with a two-run double, which came after UNCW loaded the bases with nobody out in the eighth.
UNCW starter Ryan Foster (13-2) took the loss in his Seahawk finale. The right-hander was tagged for five runs, three earned, in 3.1 innings.
Canada, Mims, Kennard McDowell and Robbie Thorburn were named to the All-Regional team.
UNCW finished the season with 41 wins for the second straight year.