COLUMBIA, S.C. --- South Carolina used a six-run third inning to blow past Vanderbilt 14-5 Saturday night at Carolina Stadium.
The Gamecocks took the season series for the first time since 2004, improving to 29-18 and 11-12 in Southeastern Conference play. The Commodores dropped to 27-19 and 10-12 in league play, half a game behind SC in eighth place in the league standings.
Nolan Belcher (3-3) allowed five runs on six hits in 7.2 innings with three walks and five strikeouts in the winning effort.
Scott Wingo opened the third with a double into the left field corner. He moved to third on a bloop single by DeAngelo Mack and then scored on a RBI single by Jackie Bradley Jr. Nick Ebert followed with a RBI single and Justin Dalles walked to load the bases. Andrew Crisp had a RBI groundout to third and Jeffrey Jones followed with a two-run single to left to make it 6-1. Bobby Haney capped off the big inning with a RBI double that fell in between Jonathan White and Steven Liddle.
SC added four more runs in the fourth to extend the lead to 11-1. Whit Merrifield and DeAngelo Mack hit back-to-back homers to knock Drew Hayes out of the game. The Gamecocks added two more runs off of reliever Grayson Garvin on a Crisp RBI single and a Parker Bangs RBI double.
Hayes gave up nine runs on nine hits in three innings of work in dropping to 4-3 on the year.
Jonathan White's two-run homer in the fifth made it 11-3. It was his first homer of the season and first since belting one against Western Carolina on March 12, 2008.
SC added another run in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Nick Ebert.
Aaron Westlake's solo homer to right made it 12-4. It was his fourth homer of the year and third in the last two weeks.
Ebert's two-run homer in the seventh extended the lead to 14-4.
Steven Liddle's solo homer in the seventh made it 14-5. It was his ninth homer of the season, pushing him into the team lead past Curt Casali with eight.
For the second straight game, VU got on the board first as Brian Harris scored from third on a wild pitch from Belcher.
DeAngelo Mack's solo homer in the bottom half tied it up at 1-1. It was his 12th homer of the year and it was the second straight game the Gamecocks belted a round-tripper in the first.
The Commodores and Gamecocks will play the final game of the three game set tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. CT. VU's starter is scheduled to be right-hander Caleb Cotham (5-4, 4.84 ERA), while SC is expected to counter with right-hander Blake Cooper (5-4, 5.50 ERA).