Columbia, S.C. - Justin Smoak, Trent Kline and Andrew Crisp homered, and starter Arik Hempy had a solid performance working into the sixth inning as top-seed South Carolina downed third-seeded Charlotte, 12-8, in game four of the Columbia Baseball Regional before 4,452 at Sarge Frye Field on Sunday.
South Carolina improved to 44-18 overall and advances to the championship game at 4:00 on Monday. Charlotte, which fell to 48-11, plays N.C. State Sunday night.
Smoak's 21st homer of the season was a towering solo blast to center that gave the Gamecocks a 3-1 third inning advantage. Jon Willard added an RBI double and Steven Reinhold's two-run double in the inning extended South Carolina's lead to 6-1.
Kline and Crisp hit back-to-back homers as part of USC's five-run fourth inning. Kline's homer was a three-run shot to left that gave the Gamecocks a 10-1 lead. Crisp followed with his eighth homer of the season, a blast to left, that gave South Carolina an 11-1 lead.
UNCC answered with four runs in the bottom of the inning. Chris Lane had an RBI infield hit, Aaron Bray a run-producing ground out, Shayne Moody a sacrifice fly to right and an RBI single by Kris Rochelle that cut South Carolina's lead to 11-5.
Reinhold, who drove in three runs, added an RBI grounder in the sixth that scored Kline to give USC a 12-5 lead.
UNCC's Brad McElroy had a two-run homer to right and Cory Lane an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth for the final margin.
Hempy (6-3) picked up the win allowing five runs on six hits with two strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings of work. Curtis Johnson picked up his third save as he retired pinch-hitter Alan Parks on a grounder with two on in the ninth to end the game.
Spencer Steedley (8-2) was the starter and loser for Charlotte. Steedley allowed 10 runs, seven earned, on seven hits with four strikeouts over three innings.
Smoak, who has three homers in two regional games, paced the Gamecocks' 12-hit attack with three hits. Kline went 2-for-3 with three runs scored and three runs batted in. Crisp added two hits and scored twice.
Rochelle led the 49ers with three hits in five trips to the plate, while Chris Lane had two hits and two RBI.