Gamecocks work 13 innings to take series from Vanderbilt

Christian Walker’s two-out two-run homer in the top of the 13th inning helped lift 10th ranked South Carolina to a 6-4 victory over Vanderbilt on Sunday afternoon to clinch the weekend series for the Gamecocks.

South Carolina is 20-8 and 3-6 in the SEC while the loss drops Vanderbilt to 11-17 and 3-6 in league play.

The game was tied at 4-4 entering the top of the seventh inning. Carolina junior right-hander Matt Price, who had allowed an infield single and a run in the top of the sixth, settled in and kept the game in check for the Gamecocks from the seventh to 11th innings.

Time and again with runners in scoring position, Price dug deep and kept the game at bay. He finished going six innings and allowing one run on one hit with four walks and seven strikeouts. He made way for freshman left-hander Jordan Montgomery, who worked a clean 12th inning. That set the stage for the 13th inning. Evan Marzilli reached base with a one-out single.

With two outs and Marzilli still on first base, Christian Walker launched a 1-0 pitch from Vanderbilt reliever Philip Pfefier that just cleared the Green Monster wall in left field giving the Gamecocks a two-run lead. Montgomery went back to work in the bottom half and retired the first two batters. After Connor Harrell singled with two outs, Montgomery ended the game with a strikeout against pinch hitter John Norwood.

Montgomery hurled two scoreless innings of relief with two hits allowed, one walk and three strikeouts to pick up the win. He is 2-0 on the year. It was his second win of the week as he also earned a win on Tuesday night at The Citadel as a starter. Pfeifer suffered the loss and is 0-1 on the year. He allowed two runs on three hits in 1.1 innings with one walk as well.

South Carolina raced out to a 4-0 lead on the Commodores. The Gamecocks broke ahead 1-0 in the top of the first inning. The Gamecocks strung together three consecutive hits with Pankake doubling of the wall in left-center, advancing to third on Walker’s base hit and scoring on Brison Celek’s RBI single to left field past Vanderbilt third baseman Vince Conde. The lead increased to 2-0 in the fourth inning. LB Dantzler launched the first pitch he saw from Vanderbilt starter Will Clinard over the wall in right-center for a homer. He now has five for the season.

South Carolina tacked on two more in the top of the fifth inning with Dantzler driving in both runs with a two-out RBI single. Evan Marzilli opened the frame with a leadoff walk and has reached base all 28 games this year. With Marzilli on second and one out, the Commodores elected to intentionally walk Walker. After a short grounder to second moved both runners into scoring position, Dantzler knocked a base hit up the middle to give the Gamecocks a four-run lead.

Gamecock starting pitcher Colby Holmes retired 10 in a row at one point but ran into trouble in the fifth inning. Spencer Navin led off with a single to left field, the first hit of the game for the Commodores. He advanced to second on a throwing error by Tanner English into the infield. Another base hit from Vince Conde gave Vanderbilt runners on the corners. With one out and runners still at first and third base, Riley Reynolds drove in Navin with a sacrifice fly to left-center putting the Commodores on the scoreboard.

A two-out single by Jack Lupo kept the Commodores alive in the inning. With left-handed hitting Tony Kemp at the plate, the Gamecocks went to the pen for junior left-hander Tyler Webb. Kemp was able to turn on an inside pitch and knocked a double to right field scoring both runners and cutting the Gamecocks lead to one run. Vanderbilt tied the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the sixth inning. Mike Yastrzemski reached base on an infield single to open the frame and stole second base.

With runners on first and second with one out, Vince Conde bounced a ground ball to Pankake at shortstop. Pankake flipped to Payne at second, for the second out but could not get Conde at first as he beat the throw out. Yastrzemski never stopped running from second and ran his way home beating a throw from Walker at first to tie the game up.

South Carolina had 12 hits to just seven by Vanderbilt. Walker was 3-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBI. Pankake, Celek and Dantzler had two hits apiece as well. Kemp was 2-for-5 with two RBI to lead Vanderbilt at the plate.

South Carolina returns to action on Wednesday, April 4 at College of Charleston. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.

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