South Carolina junior left-hander Michael Roth improved to 8-1 on the year as he limited top ranked Vanderbilt to just one run on three hits as the third ranked Gamecocks upended the Commodores 3-1 on Friday evening in the first of a three-game SEC baseball series. The game was played in front of a packed house at Carolina Stadium, 8,242 fans, the fifth sellout of the season. South Carolina is 27-6 and 11-2 in the SEC while the loss drops Vanderbilt to 31-4 and 10-3 in league play.
The pitching match-up between Roth and Vanderbilt junior right-hander Sonny Gray was every bit as good as it was advertised as both dueled back in forth limiting each offense. Roth was very effective striking out eight batters and walking just two. He did not allow a hit until a fifth inning single by Curt Casali. Gray went toe to toe as he also worked 7.2 innings. He allowed three runs on 11 hits with seven strikeouts and one walk. With the loss, Gray is now 7-2 for the season. Gamecock sophomore right-hander Matt Price entered in relief of Roth and struck out all four batters he faced to pick up his 11th save of the season.
The Gamecocks broke ahead 1-0 in the bottom of the third inning against Gray. Evan Marzilli led off with a bunt for a base hit. After stealing second base, Marzilli scored on Scott Wingo’s RBI base hit up the middle, the second hit of the game for Wingo.
Carolina extended the lead to 2-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning. Christian Walker opened the fourth with a base hit to left-center and Adrian Morales was hit by a pitch to give Carolina a pair of base runners. Adam Matthews delivered a one-out RBI single to left field that scored Walker.
Carolina added insurance in the seventh inning as Peter Mooney drove a solo home run to the corner in left field that just got over the fence in fair territory for his second homer of the year to increase Carolina’s lead to 3-0. It was the first home run given up by Gray this year. Vanderbilt would get on the scoreboard in the eighth inning as Bryan Johns tripled to left-center with one out and scored on Tony Kemp’s RBI sacrifice fly.
Carolina’s 11-hit total featured a 2-for-3 day by Wingo, a 2-for-3 day by Marzilli and 2-for-4 evening for Matthews. Wingo owns a 10-game hitting streak and Walker has reached base in 19 straight games.
Game two of the series on Saturday is scheduled for 7 p.m. and will be televised live on CSS and can also be seen on ESPN3.com.