NASHVILLE, Tenn. - South Carolina rallied for five runs in the third inning and held off a Vanderbilt rally late in the game to win Friday night's series opener 8-3 at Hawkins Field.
The 10th-ranked Gamecocks (19-7, 2-5) claimed an early lead in the first inning when Christian Walker hit a 0-2 pitch with two outs over the left fielder bleachers for a 1-0 lead. South Carolina then blew the game open in the third, sending 10 men to the plate and scoring five runs on five hits. Back-to-back bunt singles by Tanner English and Adam Matthews opened the frame. Evan Marzilli immediately cashed in with a RBI-single and Brison Celek later added a two-run double. A sacrifice fly off the bat of Erik Payne and a two-out RBI-single from LB Dantzler capped the rally to put the Gamecocks up 6-0.
The Commodores (10-16, 2-5) battled back to score two runs in the fourth off Carolina starter Michael Roth. Anthony Gomez led off with a single and scored one batter later on Mike Yastrzemski's double. The double snapped a streak of 81 at-bats without an extra-base hit for Yastrzemski. Conrad Gregor muscled a single up the middle to score Yastrzemski and get the Dores back in the game after four innings. Vanderbilt chased Roth in the seventh, rallying for a run on Vince Conde's bases loaded single with no outs. But the Gamecocks tapped reliever Matt Price, who promptly struck out the first two batters he faced and got Tony Kemp to fly out to end the threat. Price notched his first save of the season, working three scoreless innings and striking out five while allowing no hits.
Roth (3-0) earned his third win of the year working six-plus innings. The lefty allowed three runs on five hits with three strikeouts. Vanderbilt starter Kevin Ziomek (2-4) was pinned with the loss giving up six runs on seven hits and four walks with six strikeouts over 5.1 innings.
Walker led all players with two home runs and three RBI while English added two hits for the Gamecocks. Five different Commodores contributed one hit apiece in the loss.
Vanderbilt sends freshman Tyler Beede (0-3) to the bump tomorrow at 3 p.m. against South Carolina right-hander Evan Beal (1-2). The game will be televised on CSS.