NASHVILLE--- Sophomore right-hander Jack Armstrong pitched a career-high eight innings, allowing two runs on six hits to lead Vanderbilt to a 8-2 win over South Carolina Saturday afternoon at Hawkins Field.
The Commodores evened the series and improved to 26-7 over and 6-5 in Southeastern Conference play, while the Gamecocks fell to 24-7 and 8-3 in league action.
"Once again we had a great pitching performance," said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. "I thought Jack got the game going quick for us and that started some momentum in the dugout especially after the first inning where we had a runner on first and second and didn't score. We got some big hits in timely situations and scored five runs in the third, but Jack gave us a chance to catch up."
Armstrong had his second straight quality outing after throwing six shutout innings against Florida last Sunday. He had a shutout through the first four innings before giving up two runs, one earned, in the fifth. He ended up with four strikeouts and a walk and improved to 5-0 on the season, 3-0 in SEC play.
"I thought I had control of all three of my pitches today and were throwing all of them for strikes," Armstrong said. "In the summer when I was pitching in the Cape I was more of fastball-change guy, but now that I'm back to facing metal bats I've been working a lot on my curveball with pitching coach Derek Johnson and that's been a big difference maker for me."
The Commodores scored a run in the second on a RBI single by Connor Harrell. Joe Loftus singled and stole second before Harrell's single to right.
Dyson allowed six runs on eight hits in 2.2 innings with three strikeouts to drop to 2-2 on the season. Jose Mata came on in relief in the third and threw 4.2 innings of four-hit scoreless relief before giving way to Nolan Belcher in the eighth.
The Gamecocks got into the scoring column in the fifth on RBI singles by Scott Wingo and Whit Merrifield.
VU added two insurance runs in the eighth when Riley Reynolds scored on a wild pitch and Aaron Westlake scored on Jason Esposito's RBI single to right.
Chase Reid closed it out with a scoreless ninth and sealed the VU win in front of a season high 3,197 fans.
Bryan Johns, Aaron Westlake, Joe Loftus, Connor Harrell and Mike Yastrzemski paced the Dores 14 hit attach with two hits apiece, while Jackie Bradley Jr. led the Gamecocks with two base knocks.
The teams will meet in the rubber game of the three-game set tomorrow at 1 p.m. Junior right-hander Taylor Hill (3-2, 3.95 ERA) will take the mound for the Commodores, while the Gamecocks will go with senior right-hander Jay Brown (1-0, 3.79 ERA).