Columbus Northern, despite a lackluster hitting performance, beat South Carolina 2-1 in its opening game of the Southeastern Regional.
Northern plays Huntsville, the Alabama state champion, at noon Sunday.
With Northern leading 2-1, South Carolina made its move in the fourth inning. After Zac Cravens allowed back-to-back singles to start the inning, Northern brought in Jacob Pate, who has been the team's ace in the district and state tournaments. Two pitches later Pate coaxed a double play ball, but South Carolina got the run when the runner on third broke for the plate after the second out.. Pate then struck out the next batter on three pitches to end the inning.
Pate shut South Carolina down in the fifth and sixth innings. Pate was the third pitcher Northern used
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Northern, the Georgia state champion, broke out on top in the first inning when Blake Hicks scored on a wild pitch.
In the third, Jalen Latta, who reached on an error, scored on a one-out single to right by Pate to put Northern up 2-0.
Northern pitcher Troy Gilliland allowed only one hit in 2 1/3 innings. He was relieved by Cravens.