Vanderbilt pushed across an unearned run in the top of the ninth courtesy of a bases loaded walk, and USC left the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, and the Commodores edged the Gamecocks 5-4 to remain undefeated in the SEC Tournament in Hoover, AL.
The Gamecocks took a 1-0 lead in the third. Bobby Haney singled. Scott Wingo then beat out an attempted sacrifice bunt to put runners on first and second. Whit Merrifield bunted both runners and up and Haney scored on a ground out by DeAngelo Mack.
The Commodores responded in the fourth with two runs for a 2-1 lead, but the Gamecocks tied the game in the bottom of the inning. With two outs and runners on second and third, Bobby Haney singled up the middle scoring Nick Ebert from third. Andrew Crisp attempted to score from second but was tagged out after over sliding and missing the plate.
Two big swings in the sixth put the Commodores back on top. With one out, Aaron Westlake and Andrew Giobbi went back to back off Sam Dyson to give the Commodores a 4-2 lead.
But the Gamecocks battled back in the 8th. With runners at second and third and one out, Crisp drove in one run with a ground out to second. And then pinch hitter Parker Bangs laced a run scoring double down the left field line off reliever Richie Goodenow to tie the game. Bangs was stranded at second when Haney took a called third strike.
The Commodores retook the lead in the 9th with an unearned run on a two out, bases loaded walk yielded by reliever Michael Roth. A throwing error by Gamecock third baseman Andrew Crisp helped to keep the inning alive.
Down 5-4 in the bottom of the ninth, the Gamecocks tried to rally to extend their winning streak to nine. The Gamecocks loaded the bases with one out. But reliever Chase Reid got Nick Ebert to pop up to second, and then he struck out Justin Dallas to end the game.
With the loss, the Gamecocks fall to 38-20. They will play LSU in an elimination game Friday night with a scheduled start time of 7:30 Eastern. LSU Thursday eliminated Alabama 9-6. Also Thursday, Florida eliminated Ole Miss 12-2 in a game called after eight innings due to the 10 run rule, and Georgia defeated Arkansas 2-1 in 10 innings. Florida and Arkansas meet in an elimination game Friday at 4:00 Eastern. Vanderbilt and Georgia get Friday off and return to action Saturday.
Post Game Audio: Ray Tanner (5:21)
Post Game Audio: Michael Roth (1:20)
Post Game Audio: Whit Merrifield (1:24)