COLUMBIA, S.C. — Tyler Johnson had plenty of juice left in the tank.
After picking up the win in 1 1/3 innings against Duke on Saturday, Johnson scattered five hits over nine innings in South Carolina’s 10-1 win over UNCW on Sunday night at Founders Park to force a seventh and final game on Monday at 6 p.m. ET. The winner advances to the super-regional round.
It was just the second career start for Johnson, who’s made 27 relief appearances this season.
The sophomore righty found himself in an early third-inning jam, after giving up an infield hit and issuing a walk to the first two batters. He worked out of the tight spot by inducing the first double-play ball of the season from UNCW leadoff man Steven Linkous and forcing a Brian Mims groundball to second.
The rest of the outing was relatively stress-free. Johnson (3-2) used 115 pitches to record a career-high 11 strikeouts. The only run allowed came off Mims’ first-inning homer.
South Carolina struck back with five runs in the bottom of the second.
Gene Cone drove in the first three with his 13th double of the season. A T.J. Hopkins base hit chased Seahawks starter Cory Gantz (4-1), setting up runners at the corners for Alex Destino, who looked at a third strike from lefty reliever Whitman Barnes. Hopkins stole second on the strikeout then came around to score on Dom Thompson-Williams’ two-run single.
Barnes stifled the Gamecocks for the next 3 2/3 innings until he loaded the bases by walking Thompson-Williams. Barnes fell behind 3-0 to Madison Stokes, but left during the at-bat with an injury.
Clay Lockamon battled back with consecutive strikes, before issuing the walk. Hunter Taylor followed, plating two more for South Carolina (45-16) by sending a sharp single past UNCW (41-18) shortstop Kennard McDowell.