COLUMBIA, S.C. — Robert Beary imagined an even better NCAA regional tournament than the one he put together at home.
The South Carolina catcher had two hits and an RBI in the Gamecocks' 8-2 victory over Stetson on Monday that clinched the NCAA Columbia Regional.
Beary, who was named the tournament's MVP, hit a grandslam in Saturday's 11-5 win over the Hatters. He was due to bat Sunday night with bases loaded when play was halted because of a storm that knocked out power to Carolina Stadium.
Beary was so keyed up waiting for the at bat he said he dreamed he bounced a ball into the stands for a ground-rule double and more RBIs. The reality was that Beary ended his nearly 17-hour wait with a foul out to the catcher.
"The last couple of times I put some good swings on it though," Beary said.
Beary went 5-for-11 in the three NCAA tournament games with five RBIs. He tripled and scored in the third inning, then had an RBI-single in the fourth as the Gamecocks (48-14) took a 3-1 lead they wouldn't relinquish when the suspended game resumed Monday.
"We've been working hard on our hitting," Beary said. "I got the opportunity to play and catch and hit. Yeah, I was locked in."
Several other Gamecocks were locked in as well. Evan Marzilli led off the game Sunday with a homer and had two RBIs. Star closer Matt Price entered in the seventh inning with the bases loaded and allowed only one run en route to his 17th save.
and second of the regional.
"Getting out of that inning was the difference in the whole ballgame," Tanner said.
The Gamecocks, seeded fourth nationally in the NCAA tournament, have won 17 straight postseason games at home dating back to 2002. They'll have the chance to extend that streak next week as they host the best-of-3 super regional series against either Clemson or Connecticut.
If it's the rival Tigers, Tanner knows how crazy it could get.
"We can't build a baseball field over at Williams-Brice?" Tanner joked, referring to South Carolina's 80,000-seat football stadium.
2011 NCAA Super Regionals
(1) No. 1 Virginia vs. (3) UC Irvine
(3) Dallas Baptist/(4) Oral Roberts vs. (2)Baylor/(3)Cal
(1) Florida State vs. Texas A&M/Arizona
(1) South Carolina vs. (2) Connecticut
(1) Florida vs. (3) Mississippi State
(1) Texas vs. (1) Arizona State
(1) Oregon State vs. (1) Vanderbilt
(1) North Carolina vs. (2) Stanford