A four-run first inning and a four-run fifth inning helped lead ninth ranked Vanderbilt to a 9-3 win over eighth ranked South Carolina on Friday evening at Hawkins Field. Vanderbilt is now 40-15 and 17-12 in the SEC with the Gamecocks now 41-14 and 17-12 in league play. The rubber game of the series is scheduled for Saturday at 3 p.m. ET. It will be televised live on CBS Sports Network.
Vanderbilt starter Carson Fulmer earned the win and is now 5-1 on the year. He worked 5.2 innings and allowed three runs on seven hits with six walks and four strikeouts. Gamecock starter Jack Wynkoop suffered the loss and is 7-4 on the year. He allowed seven runs on nine hits in 4.2 innings of work with no walks and three strikeouts.
Vanderbilt batted around in the first inning to take a 4-0 lead. Dansby Swanson reached base to open the frame on a hit by pitch and Xavier Turner singled to put runners on the corners. With one out, Zander Wiel would knock a base hit into left field scoring Swanson. After a base hit by Vince Conde loaded the bases, John Norwood would single up the middle to score two more runs. Rhett Wiseman followed with a RBI base hit as well to give the Commodores a four-run lead.
South Carolina would cut the deficit to three runs in the top of the second. Grayson Greinerbelted a leadoff single and advanced to second on a balk. Carolina would then benefit from Fulmer struggling with his control as he walked three consecutive batters. Tanner English, Taylor Widener and Patrick Harrington all drew two-out walks with Greiner scoring on Harrington’s walk.
South Carolina would add another run in the fifth inning. Gene Cone singled up the middle with Kyle Martin singling down the right field line to put runners on the corners. Cone would score on fielder’s choice by Greiner to bring the Gamecocks within a pair of runs.The Commodores scored four more in the bottom of the fifth to extend the lead to 8-3. A one-out single by Bryan Reynolds was followed up by a two-run homer by Zander Wiel, his fifth of the season. John Norwood would add a two-out double and score on Rhett Wiseman’s triple off the wall in right field. Karl Ellison’s infield single would score Wiseman and account for the fourth run of the inning. Reynolds would drive in a run in the sixth to close out the scoring for the Commodores.
“We got it to 4-2 there in the fifth and we had our chances against Fulmer,” said South Carolina head coach Chad Holbrook. “I have no problem with the way we competed against a real good pitcher. I didn’t get a chance to play or coach against Roger Clemens but I imagine that’s pretty close to what he used to do as far as his stuff. We had a good approach against him and we just couldn’t get the real big hit. We were going to have to win that game 3-2, 4-3. We didn’t get the pitching performance we needed, but that’s okay, Jack has been very consistent this year and I’m sure he will bounce back.”
Vanderbilt had 13 hits with the Gamecocks finishing with 10 for the evening. Kyle Martin tied a career-high in hits with a 4-for-5 day at the plate and Patrick Harrington was 2-for-3 with a run scored. Wiseman had three hits with Norwood, Reynolds and Wiel with two apiece as well to lead the Commodores.