South Carolina holds off Liberty to win regional

South Carolina's Grayson Greiner dives safely home as Liberty catcher Trey Wimmer waits on the throw in the bottom of the fifth inning at the Columbia Regional Monday. (AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain)

Mary Ann Chastain

COLUMBIA – South Carolina beat Liberty on Monday afternoon 6-4 to advance to its 11th NCAA tournament super regional in 14 years, and move one step closer to playing in four straight College World Series for the first time in school history.

In the best-of-three super regional, USC will play the winner of Monday night’s Chapel Hill Regional final between North Carolina, the tournament’s overall No. 1 seed, and Florida Atlantic, a No. 2 regional seed. Florida Atlantic won Sunday to force a winner-take-all game Monday.

If North Carolina wins, USC will travel to Chapel Hill for the super regional. If Florida Atlantic wins, USC will host the super regional, which would be valuable because the Gamecocks are 55-8 all-time in the tournament at home and have won 27 straight, dating to 2002.

Monday brought a resumption of Sunday night’s Columbia Regional final, which was suspended because of thunderstorms with USC up 4-2 entering the bottom of the fifth inning. On Monday, USC extended its lead to 6-2 in the fifth and held off Liberty, which scored one in the eight and one in the ninth.

USC’s super regional will begin either Friday or Saturday. Dates and times for all eight super regionals will be announced around 11 p.m. Monday.