ROCKINGHAM — For the second straight game, a team from the Greenville area and the Eastern Carolina Conference will make the trek to Rockingham.
In Friday's 4A second round matchup, Richmond Senior squared off with D.H. Conley. This time, it will be South Central making the visit to Raider Field 7 p.m. today.
South Central (14-9) blanked Pine Forest 5-0 in its playoff opener before knocking out New Hanover 6-2 Saturday to advance to the third round and a matchup with Richmond.
“They are a solid team,” Richmond coach Ricky Young said. “They are very talented and have two really good pitchers. They are going to play small ball, kind of like we do. This time of year, whoever executes the best will win”
Tucker Jacobs — an Air Force signee — picked up the win against New Hanover, going six-plus innings, allowing two runs on six hits and striking out five. Matt Summers retired the final three batter to earn the save.
“We're not going to do anything flashy. We try to get bunts down and get hits behind it, and hope to get good pitching and turn double plays behind it like we did today,” South Central coach Robert Langston said to the Daily Reflector after Saturday's win. “That's what we're about.”
Jacobs aided his cause, going 2-for-4 with three RBIs. Matt Conlin added two hits and two runs, while Brady Hill scored twice as well.
In its win over Pine Forest, junior Cam Colmore surrendered just one hit in a complete-game shutout. Colmore had eight strikeouts in the win. Jacobs was again the hitting star for South Central, going 2 of 3 with two RBIs.
Young expects Langston to start Colmore tonight and he plans to counter with junior Cody Leviner. In the first-round victory over West Johnston, Leviner allowed three runs — two earned — on five hits and a walk in six innings. Leviner struck out eight before turning it over to Nic Bullard in the seventh. Bullard allowed two walks, but settled down to earned the save in the 6-3 win.
Young added he plans to start the same lineup he has used during the team's nine-game winning streak. He hopes it will result in a first-inning advantage, something Richmond (19-6-1) has enjoyed in its two playoff victories.
“Getting an early lead has been key,” Young said.
The winner of tonight's game will face either Hoggard (19-5) or J.H. Rose (22-2). If Rose wins, it will have home-field advantage regardless of the opponent. If Hoggard wins and Richmond is victorious, then the Vikings will travel to Rockingham despite having a better overall record because it is the No. 2 seed from the Mideastern Conference. A South Central victory means it will be the road team in the fourth round.
Reach sports editor Shawn Stinson 910-997-3111, ext. 14 or on Twitter @scgolfer.