Gamecocks moving up: Final NCAA Tournament projections for South Carolina baseball

After a successful trip to Hoover, South Carolina doesn’t have to fret about the possibility of being left out of the NCAA Tournament.

The Gamecocks will surely make the NCAAs after advancing to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament, beating Alabama, Arkansas and Kentucky before falling, 12-11, to LSU in extra innings on Saturday.

South Carolina entered the week being projected as a 3-seed in various NCAA regionals. After going 3-2 in Hoover, the Gamecocks boosted their position for the postseason.

In D1Baseball’s latest NCAA Tournament projections, released Sunday morning, South Carolina is a 2-seed in the Chapel Hill Regional along host North Carolina, UNC Wilmington and Sacred Heart.

The Gamecocks are already familiar with the Tar Heels. Back in early April, South Carolina beat North Carolina, 2-1, in a midweek game in Charlotte.

Baseball America also pegged the Gamecocks as a 2-seed but had them traveling to the Raleigh Regional with host N.C. State, Coastal Carolina and High Point.

If the projections hold up, this will be the first time since 2018 — head coach Mark Kingston’s first year in Columbia — that the Gamecocks have to travel for an NCAA regional. In 2018, South Carolina was the 2-seed in the Greenville Regional but beat host East Carolina to advance to the super regional.

The Gamecocks missed out on the tournament completely in 2019 and 2022, then went on to host a regional in 2021 and 2023. USC hosted the 2021 regional as a 2-seed when top-seeded Old Dominion was unable to host.

The NCAA Tournament selection show is noon Monday on ESPN2.

“I can’t wait to watch our team go play in a regional, and hopefully a super regional, and hopefully Omaha after that,” South Carolina coach mark Kingston said on Saturday in Hoover. “Obviously if anybody didn’t believe we were capable of that before this week, I think we passed the eye test. We’re one of the best teams in the country.”


Despite finishing the regular season with six-straight losses — swept by Georgia and Tennessee — the Gamecocks rallied last week to pick up some resume-boosting wins.

South Carolina will enter the NCAA Tournament with a 36-23 record. They’re currently No. 21 in the RPI (down from No. 17 before Saturday’s loss to LSU).

But the Gamecocks get major credit for playing an SEC schedule in a year when the conference is expected to send a record 11 teams to the NCAA Tournament. South Carolina has played the fifth-hardest schedule in America and, unsurprisingly, seven of the top 10 toughest schedules belong to SEC squads.

That schedule helped South Carolina rack up 15 Quad 1 victories, which is tied for fifth-most in the SEC.

“It’s going to be a matter of who gets good draws,” Kingston said, “who’s in a spot where they’re playing hot against teams that maybe are not quite as hot. But every team in our league that gets to a regional will have a chance to go to Omaha.”

Luckily for South Carolina, and every other SEC squad, it won’t have to face a conference foe in the regionals. This season, the Gamecocks are 20-4 in non-conference competition.

Selection show, key baseball dates

  • May 27: NCAA baseball selection show, noon (ESPN2_

  • May 31-June 3: NCAA regional round

  • June 7-9 or 8-10: NCAA super regional round

  • June 14: First day of Men’s College World Series in Omaha

  • June 22-23/24: Men’s College World Series finals

South Carolina under Mark Kingston

  • 2018: 37-26, 17-13 SEC (reached NCAA supers)

  • 2019: 28-28, 8-22 SEC (no NCAAs)

  • 2020: 12-4 / Season canceled

  • 2021: 34-23; 16-14 SEC (reached NCAA regionals)

  • 2022: 27-28, 13-17 SEC (no NCAAs)

  • 2023: 42-21, 16-13 SEC (reached NCAA supers)

  • 2014: 33-21, 13-17 SEC (still in progress)