Columbia, S.C. -
Top-ranked Vanderbilt held off third-ranked South Carolina 6-4 Saturday night at a sold-out Carolina Stadium to even the series at one game apiece.
The Commodores jumped out to an early lead scoring one run in each of the first two innings before the Gamecocks put three runs on the board in the bottom of the second to grab the lead. Jason Esposito's solo home run to right field tied the game in the fourth inning and the Dores took control of the game in the fifth pushing three runs across. RBI-singles from Anthony Gomez and Aaron Westlake scored the first two runs with Mike Yastrzemski's bases loaded walk scoring the third run.
South Carolina catcher Brady Thomas belted a solo home run in the sixth to bring the Gamecocks within two runs but that was close as SC would get with the Commodores bullpen turning in three scoreless innings. Five Vanderbilt relievers combined to finish the game for the Dores. Corey Williams, Jack Armstrong, Kevin Ziomek and Mark Lamm all combined to pitch the seventh and eighth before Navery Moore finished the game recording his eighth save of the season working the ninth inning.
Freshman Tony Kemp led the Vanderbilt offense going 5-for-5 and scoring two runs. Mike Yastrzemski hit his first home run of the year with a solo shot in the second inning. Esposito's home run extended his hitting streak to 17 games. The top five spots in the Dores' lineup combined to go 9-for-20 with six RBI and four runs scored. Thomas paced the Gamecocks with two hits, two runs scored and two RBI.
The two teams play the rubber game tomorrow on ESPN2 with first pitch slated for 12 p.m. CT. The Commodores hand the ball to senior Taylor Hill and South Carolina turns to freshman Forrest Koumas.