Vanderbilt sent 12 batters to the plate in the bottom of the fourth inning and tallied seven runs on seven hits on the way to a 12-4 victory over 10th ranked South Carolina on Saturday afternoon in front of 3,113 fans at Hawkins Field.
South Carolina drops to 19-8 and 2-6 in the SEC with Vanderbilt now 11-16 and 3-5 in league play. The rubber game of the series is set for Sunday at 2 p.m.
With the game scoreless in the bottom of the fourth, the Commodores made their move as Mike Yastrzemski led off with a double and advanced to third on Conrad Gregor’s groundout to Erik Payne at second base. The Commodores got on the scoreboard with Spencer Navin’s one-out RBI single that was a high chopper over the head of third baseman LB Dantzler.
South Carolina starter Evan Beal was effective through the first three innings but would then struggle with his control as he walked Vince Conde and Connor Harrell to load the bases. Carolina went to the pen for junior right-hander Forrest Koumas. With a 2-2 count, Riley Reynolds bounced a base hit through the right side that scored a pair of runners to give Vanderbilt a three-run lead.
Jack Lupo and Tony Kemp added RBI singles as well. Lupo’s base hit was a bunt single with Kemp driving a base hit into right field. South Carolina would go to the pen one more time for right-hander Patrick Sullivan. The Commodores plated home one more run as Anthony Gomez’s bunt popped in the air but stayed just fair down the first base line for a RBI single that gave Vanderbilt a 7-0 lead.
The seven-run lead was more than enough for Vanderbilt starter Tyler Beede, who would go six-plus innings and allow one run on five hits with one walk and seven strikeouts to pick up his first career win. He is now 1-3 on the year. Beal allowed four runs on four hits with three walks and four strikeouts in 3.1 innings of work. He took the loss and is 1-3 as well for the season. Vanderbilt reliever Brian Miller worked three innings of relief and allowed three runs, one earned, on four hits with one walk and three strikeouts for his second save of the year.
The Commodores added two more runs in the fifth inning to increase the lead to 9-0. Lupo tallied his second base hit, a RBI single and Kemp drove in a run on a bunt for a base hit.
Carolina would get on the scoreboard in the top of the seventh inning. Erik Payne reached base with an infield single to open the frame and Grayson Greiner doubled down the left field line to give the Gamecocks runners on second and third base. LB Dantzler drove in Payne with a RBI groundout. Vanderbilt responded with two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning and one in the bottom of the eighth. Chris Harvey tallied a pinch-hit single, John Norwood also had a RBI and Connor Castellano had a pinch-hit home run.
South Carolina had a strong ninth inning scoring three runs off of Miller. Kyle Martin led off the frame with a double to left-center followed by a Dante Rosenberg single up the middle. With one out and runners on the corners, Tanner English drove in Martin with an infield single. A throwing error by Vanderbilt second baseman Connor Castellano and a fielding error by shortstop Joel McKeithan scored Rosenberg and English.
Vanderbilt had 16 hits with all nine starters tallying at least one hit. Kemp, Navin, Conde, Reynolds and Lupo had two hits apiece with Kemp, Reynolds and Lupo driving in two apiece as well. English went 2-for-4 to lead the Gamecocks at the plate.
South Carolina sends junior RHP Colby Holmes (3-0, 2.67 ERA) to the hill on Sunday with Vanderbilt countering with junior RHP Will Clinard (2-1, 3.80 ERA).