CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Lightning and a late rain storm shorted out Game 2 of No. 6 South Carolina's Super Regional at No. 2 North Carolina Saturday, stopping the game at 9:27 p.m. in the seventh inning with the Gamecocks leading 8-5.
The game will be continued beginning at 2:36 p.m. today. If USC wins to force a deciding Game 3, that game will begin at 7 p.m.
USC had just squelched a two-out UNC rally in the seventh when the first lightning flash was spotted. Per NCAA rules regarding lightning in the area, Boshamer Stadium was evacuated until the weather cleared.
The rain began around 10:20 p.m. and heavily fell for 25 minutes. The decision was made at approximately 10:50 p.m. to postpone the conclusion to today, with Game 3 (if necessary) after.
The Gamecocks began Game 2 with a quick 3-0 lead, keyed by Indian Land native Harley Lail legging out a two-out grounder that was dropped on the relay throw, allowing two runs to score. UNC struck back with two runs in the top of the second, but USC wiggled out of the inning without further damage.
Justin Smoak parked his 22nd homer of the season to extreme right field in the third and the Gamecocks added four more runs in the fourth, begun when Lail led off the inning with a double and was followed by a walk, balk, sacrifice fly and a single. Phil Disher then slapped a double down the third-base line that scored two more runs.
UNC scored a single run in the fifth and two in the seventh, chasing Gamecocks starter Arik Hempy. Hempy departed after 6 2-3 innings of five-hit, seven-strikeout ball, throwing 125 pitches.
Alex Farotto relieved and gave up a two-run single to Tim Federowicz to end the inning and the game was stopped shortly after. USC is in a must-win situation, needing to win the postponed game and another to punch its ticket for the College World Series, while UNC is trying to claim a second straight trip to the CWS with a late-inning rally.
USC is familiar with waiting out rain delays, losing a day and a half of last week's NCAA Regional in Columbia before finishing a three-game winning streak. The Gamecocks are seeking to advance to the College World Series for the fourth time in the past six years.
South Carolina's Super Regional Game 2 at North Carolina Saturday was delayed by lightning and rain and postponed until today. The Gamecocks and Tar Heels will continue Game 2 at 2:36 p.m. today beginning in the bottom of the seventh inning, USC leading 8-5. If the Gamecocks hold on and win, Game 3 will begin at 7 p.m.
The game(s) will be played on either ESPN2 (cable channel 28 in Rock Hill) or ESPNU (digital cable channel 206 in Rock Hill).