Columbia: Second baseman Braylen Wimmer hit a pair of home runs and drove in five to lead USC to an 8-6 win over 4th ranked Vanderbilt Saturday afternoon in front of an announced crowd of 8032 at Founders Park. The Gamecocks won the series two games to one and improved to 12-11 overall and 2-4 in the SEC.
After hitting ten homers last season, Wimmer was homerless through his first 89 at-bats of this season until delivering a two-run shot in the fourth. His three-run blast in the fifth put USC up for good at 6-5. Wimmer’s power display came with his father in the stands for the first time this season. He finished 3-3 at the plate and the five RBIs are a career high.
The Gamecocks padded their lead with two runs in the seventh on a Michael Braswell RBI single and a RBI double by Colin Burgess. Vandy got a run back with a homer in the eighth off reliever Cade Austin. In the ninth, the Commodores had first and second with one out, but Austin induced a 4-6-3 double play to end the game.
Austin was the last of three freshmen to pitch for the Gamecocks. Matthew Becker started and pitched into the fifth allowing five runs on seven hits. Aidan Hunter (4-2) worked through the seventh, giving up just two hits. He earned the win with Austin picking up his first save.
The Gamecocks made a pair of errors in the first that led to an unearned run, but they flashed the leather the rest of the game. There was no bigger defensive play than the one made by centerfielder Evan Stone in the second. The Commodores loaded the bases with one out and Dennis Diaz ripped a fly ball to deep center. Stone turned, ran the ball down at the track and dove to make the catch while hitting his head against the padding of the center field wall. The play saved two additional runs and perhaps the game. Stone was shaken up but was able to continue.
USC will host Presbyterian Tuesday night then travel to Missouri next weekend.