Vanderbilt’s Kumar Rocker narrowly outdueled Gamecocks ace Thomas Farr in the Commodores’ 3-2 victory in Nashville, Friday. Rocker, a candidate to be selected at the top of the next MLB draft, held the Gamecocks to two runs over eight innings. Farr couldn’t quite keep pace, surrendering three runs in six plus innings.
After Vanderbilt got to Farr for a pair of runs in the fifth, South Carolina (11-5, 0-1) knotted it up in the sixth behind Josiah Sightler’s double and Wes Clarke’s RBI groundout. Farr (2-1, 2.15) returned for the seventh and walked CJ Rodriguez to open the inning. Farr was lifted for Jack Mahoney, who couldn’t prevent Rodriguez from coming around to score to break the tie. Cooper Davis’ single plated Rodriguez with what proved to be the winning margin, hanging Farr with his first loss.
As expected, it was tough sledding for the Gamecocks lineup against Rocker (5-0, 0.58). Although, South Carolina notched the first two earned runs of the season against Rocker, his array of fastballs and sliders led to 14 strikeouts against only three hits and two walks. The Gamecocks finished 3 of 30 against Rocker and closer Luke Murphy.
After an 11-game winning streak to open the season, South Carolina has dropped its last five. It won’t get much easier moving forward. Vanderbilt will send another elite prospect, Jack Leiter (4-0, 0.45), to the mound for Game 2. The Gamecocks will counter with Brannon Jordan (1-1, 3.50). First pitch in Nashville is scheduled for noon.