COLUMBIA— Kyle Martin broke a 3-3 tie with an RBI single as part of South Carolina’s four-run eighth inning Friday night and the Gamecocks beat Saint Louis 7-3, their 25th consecutive NCAA Tournament victory at home.
South Carolina (40-19) led 3-0 through six until the Billikens (41-20) tied things with a two-run eighth, helped by third baseman Chase Verguson’s high throw past first.
Martin hit a bouncer that first baseman Mike Vigliarolo could not reach, bringing home Joey Pankake and moving South Carolina in front for good.
Former Greenbrier star Nolan Belcher started for the Gamecocks. He went 6⅓ innings and gave up four hits and one run.
The Gamecocks next face Liberty today in a winner’s bracket game. The Flames surprised Clemson 8-3 earlier.
Atlantic 10 Tournament champion Saint Louis will take on the Tigers in an elimination game today.
LIBERTY 8, CLEMSON 3
Catcher Trey Wimmer drove in six runs, starter Josh Richardson scattered six hits and Liberty won its first NCAA Tournament game in 13 years.
Wimmer is a South Carolina native who grew up a Tiger fan.
Yet he battered his old favorites with a three-run homer and a two-run double for the Flames (35-27), who have won six consecutive game this postseason, and taking the Big South tournament title.
The Tigers (39-21) went cold in the middle innings as Richardson retired 17 consecutive batters, a string that ended with Steven Duggar’s leadoff double in the ninth. Clemson has lost six in a row.
ILLINOIS 6, GEORGIA TECH 4
In Nashville, Tenn., Jordan Parr hit two home runs to lead Illinois (35-18) over Georgia Tech (34-26).
Illinois jumped out to a four-run lead thanks to Parr’s second multihomer game. After his twin brother Justin Parr led off the fourth with a single, Jordan hit a two-run homer. Jordan Parr then homered in the sixth.
SOUTH ALABAMA 9, MERCER 4
In Starkville, Miss., Nick Zaharion and Dustin Dalken combined to drive in seven runs to lead second-seeded South Alabama (43-18) past third-seeded Mercer (43-17).
Logan Gaines, a former Westside standout, went 0 for 3 with a walk for Mercer.