COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The South Carolina Gamecocks are headed to the NCAA Tournament.
In Mark Kingston's first year in Columbia, USC (32-24) will open tournament play in the Greenville Regional at East Carolina.
"I couldn't be prouder," said Madison Stokes about his team earning a spot in the tournament. "We've come a long way, had a rough start, and we just finished really strong and, hopefully, we can continue to finish strong."
"I think we knew we were in," Kingston said. "I think everybody that follows college baseball closely knows that we did enough. When you win 18 games in this league, you're going to be in the NCAA Tournament. There's no question about it. But when you see your name up on that screen, a lot of things go through your head. You remember the first team meeting. You remember the ups and downs because we've obviously had a lot of those this year. So, it's a culmination of that team and those student-athletes and they're getting rewarded for all their hard work and that makes you feel good as a coach."
This is the first NCAA Tournament appearance for the Gamecocks since 2016. That year, the Gamecocks hosted a Super Regional but fell to Oklahoma State at Founders Park.
This will be the 32nd appearance in the NCAA Tournament. It will be the Gamecocks' third appearance since 2014. South Carolina looks to add a third national title to their collection. South Carolina won back-to-back titles in 2010 and 2011 under Ray Tanner, who now serves as athletics director for USC.
In this year's bracket, Carolina's first opponent will be Ohio State (36-22). The two teams will face off at 2 p.m. on Friday.
The winner of that game will face either No. 12 East Carolina (43-16) or UNC Wilmington (37-21).