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NCAA Baseball Tournament: South Carolina 19, Liberty 3 -- The Gamecocks Look Like the Gamecocks Again

An offensive explosion could just be a good night for South Carolina. Or it could be the start of something more

Bruce Thorson-US PRESSWIRE

It's a little bit of a pity that Jordan Montgomery's pitching performance is destined to get lost in the shadow of his team's offensive performance. Montgomery was sparkling for South Carolina on Saturday, striking out a career-high 11 and allowing three hits in seven shutout innings. But when your team wins 19-3, the pitching is probably not going to be the headline, especially when you consider:

  • South Carolina had two two-run home runs and a three run home run.
  • Whatever you think about the stat -- and, really, it tells you very little -- eight players had RBIs tonight for South Carolina. Again, it's not the greatest stat in the world, but that's kind of interesting.
  • The Gamecocks had 19 hits, seven walks and were also helped by five Liberty errors. Liberty had fewer hits (six) than South Carolina had walks.

And all of that makes for fun viewing, especially if you're a Gamecock fan. But the more important question might be this: Does this mean that the South Carolina program that has charged to the College World Series finals in three consecutive years is back in the swing of things? Or was this a one-game explosion of offense created by a perfect storm.

Because that could be the difference between the Gamecocks heading to Omaha and staying home. If they can win one of two from the winner of tomorrow's Clemson-Liberty game -- and that's no sure thing -- South Carolina will likely have to head to Chapel Hill and take down a UNC team that is one of the nation's best squads right now. It will take a return by the old South Carolina to get through that gauntlet.

But if you're a team that stands between the Gamecocks and Omaha, Saturday night's blowout had to make you at least a little bit nervous. Because they looked very much like a team that has another lengthy winning streak in its sights.