Behind another stellar postseason performance from starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery, top-seeded South Carolina won its 28th straight home NCAA Tournament game, defeating fourth-seeded Campbell, 5-2, on Friday in the Columbia Regional in front of a Carolina Stadium crowd of 7,382.
With the win, the Gamecocks (43-16) advance to Saturday's winner's bracket game against No. 2 seed Maryland. South Carolina improves its postseason record at Carolina Stadium to 17-0.
Montgomery (8-5) gave up two runs on five hits and matched his season high with nine strikeouts in eight innings of work. He is now 5-0 in NCAA Tournament games and has a postseason ERA of 0.70. The victory was the 20th of Montgomery's career, making him the 22nd Gamecock to reach the mark.
Offensively, South Carolina recorded 11 hits, the 31st time it has reached double digits in hits this season. Sophomore shortstop Marcus Mooney and sophomore designated hitter Max Schrock led the way with three hits apiece, while freshman left fielder Gene Cone added two hits. Mooney and junior Kyle Martin also drove in two runs each.
Campbell (40-20) finished the night with six hits, including a 2-for-4 effort from center fielder Matt Nadolski and a solo home run from Seth LaRue.
Camels' starting pitcher Heath Bowers (10-4) picked up the loss after surrendering three runs and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings of work.
The Gamecocks wasted no time putting runs on the board as they built a 3-0 lead in the first. Mooney and Schrock delivered back-to-back singles to lead off the inning, and Joey Pankake drew a walk in the next at bat to load the bases with no outs. Martin followed with a single to right field, driving in Mooney and Schrock to give Carolina a 2-0 lead. Second baseman DC Arendas drove home one more run with a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Pankake to push the Gamecocks' lead to three runs.
Campbell got on the board in the top of the fourth, as LaRue launched a solo home run to left center to cut the Gamecocks' lead to 3-1. Prior to LaRue's homer, Montgomery had not given up a run in 27 2/3 consecutive innings in the NCAA Tournament.
South Carolina added a pair of insurance runs in the eighth on a two-run single by Mooney to build a 5-1 lead.
The Camels scored a run in the ninth on a RBI triple by Will Albertson, but Gamecock closer Joel Seddon was able to record the final three outs, including two strikeouts, to secure the win.
Campbell will take on third-seeded Old Dominion in an elimination game at 1 p.m. on Saturday. The Gamecocks' contest against Maryland and the elimination game will both be streamed live on ESPN3. Live stats will also be available at Gamecocksonline.com.
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