UPCOMING HOME GAMES AT HAWKINS FIELD Wednesday, March 19 vs. Lipscomb at 6 p.m. CT Friday, March 28 vs. Arkansas at 6 p.m. CT Saturday, March 29 vs. Arkansas at 3 p.m. CT Sunday, March 30 vs. Arkansas at 1 p.m. CT
NASHVILLE --- Caleb Cotham struck out nine in 5.2 innings and Vanderbilt scored 10 runs, keyed by a grand-slam homer by Andrew Giobbi, to defeat South Carolina 10-4 Sunday afternoon at Hawkins Field.
The Commodores (12-4, 2-1 SEC) claimed the Southeastern Conference opening series over the Gamecocks (11-5, 1-2 SEC) and captured the season series over USC for the fourth straight year.
Cotham, making his first start in SEC play, allowed just two runs, one earned on five hits in 5.2 innings with nine strikeouts and two walks to move to 3-0 on the year.
"Caleb did a nice job," said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. "I thought he was aggressive. He got himself out of trouble in the fourth inning (and) that was huge. He got those two strikeouts, which I thought was the turning point in the ball game."
Both teams scored a run on a wild pitch in the first inning and went into the fourth tied at 1-1. SC had a scoring threat when James Darnell doubled and Harley Lail was hit by a pitch, before Andrew Crisp bunted them into scoring position. Cotham then struck out Phil Disher and Scott Wingo to end the threat.
VU carried the momentum into the bottom half, plating four runs to take a 5-1 lead. Shea Robin had a RBI single and Brian Harris added a two-run single to lead the way.
The Dores added a run in the fifth on a RBI single by Ryan Flaherty. SC got on the board in the top of the sixth on a RBI single by Crisp to make it 6-2.
Giobbi put the game away with his grand slam homer in the seventh, his first homer of the year, to make it 10-2.
Justin Smoak belted a two-run homer to right-center to close out the game scoring.
Giobbi and Flaherty led VU with two hits, while James Darnell led South Carolina with three.
Vanderbilt will step out of league action with a midweek contest against Lipscomb at Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Hawkins Field. The Commodores will then hit the road next weekend for a three-game SEC series against Alabama.