South Carolina’s 2024 season came to an end in disappointing fashion. The Gamecocks fell to James Madison 2-0 Sunday in a Raleigh Regional elimination game, exiting the NCAA Tournament.

JMU scored in its first and last at-bats. Both runs came on Mike Mancini solo home runs.

South Carolina starter Dylan Eskew took the loss, giving up the 2-out 1st-inning homer. He finished with a line that normally plays in postseason: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 K, 2 BB.

Tyler Pitzer relieved Eskew, making only 1 mistake. Mancini provided James Madison with insurance, homering a second time in the bottom of the 8th to extend the lead to 2-0.

JMU used two pitchers in Sunday’s shutout. Casey Smith was the Dukes’ starter. He went 2.1 innings, allowing 2 hits.

In the 3rd inning, James Madison turned to Donovan Burke. He went the distance, a 101-pitch appearance out of the pen. Over 6.2 IP, Burke allowed just 3 hits, striking out 7 and walking 2.

As the final score indicates, it was a rough day for the Gamecocks at the plate. South Carolina scattered 5 hits on the day. In total, 9 men were left on base.

Gamecocks batters were caught looking 5 times in their 8 strikeouts. South Carolina was 0-for-7 with two outs and 1-of-14 with runners on.

South Carolina stumbled down the stretch

South Carolina’s season ended in Raleigh. It wasn’t too long ago, though, that the Gamecocks were expected to be hosting a Columbia Regional.

Mark Kingston’s team left Columbia, Missouri on May 5 with a 32-15 mark and 13-11 record in SEC play. The Gamecocks finish the season with a record of 37-25.

The Gamecocks did not win another SEC game in the regular season, suffering back-to-back sweeps by Georgia and Tennessee.

South Carolina appeared to get back on track in Hoover. The Gamecocks went 3-2 in the conference tournament, picking up impressive wins over Alabama, Arkansas and Kentucky.

The Hoover mojo, however, did not travel to Raleigh. As the team returns to Columbia, there are questions about the head coach’s future.