HOOVER, ALA. – Second-seeded South Carolina broke ahead 2-0 in the second inning on a two-run single by Tanner English but fifth-seeded Vanderbilt rallied with single runs in the fifth, sixth and eighth innings with the winning run coming across home plate on a squeeze with two strikes by Mike Yastrzemski as the Commodores defeated the Gamecocks 3-2 on Wednesday evening at the SEC Baseball Tournament.
South Carolina is now 39-16 with Vanderbilt 31-25 on the year. The Gamecocks are back in action on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. ET in an elimination game vs. Auburn.
Vanderbilt reliever Kevin Ziomek earned the win in relief and is now 5-6 on the year. He hurled two scoreless innings of relief with three strikeouts. Right-hander Will Clinard followed with two scoreless innings with just one hit allowed to pick up his fifth save of the season. South Carolina left-hander Tyler Webb suffered his first loss of the year. He is now 5-1 on the year. He allowed two runs on three hits in four innings with one walk and three strikeouts.
With the score deadlocked at 2-2 in the eighth inning, the Commodores opened the frame with a double off the bat of Vince Conde.
A sacrifice bunt by Tony Kemp would move Conde to third base. Down to a 1-2 count, Yastrzemski was able to set down a squeeze scoring Conde with the go ahead run. South Carolina looked to mount a rally in the bottom half with Chase Vergason reaching base on a two-out walk followed by a base hit by English. Clinard got out of the inning though with a strikeout of Evan Marzilli. He would then work a perfect ninth inning to seal the win for the Commodores.
South Carolina broke ahead first in the game with a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. Carolina strung together several quality at bats with two outs to go ahead by a pair of runs. Grayson Greiner doubled down the left field line, Kyle Martin reached base on an infield single and Vergason was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
That set the stage for Tanner English, who drilled a first pitch from Vanderbilt starter TJ Pecoraro to left field for a two-run single.
Vanderbilt cut Carolina’s lead in half in the top of the fifth inning. Connor Harrell opened the frame with a double, as a grounder dribbled just fair of the third base bag down the left field line. He would eventually score on a one-out sacrifice fly to center off the bat of Conde.
South Carolina starter Jordan Montgomery was effective in five innings of work. He allowed one run on two hits with two walks and five strikeouts.
Carolina loaded the bases with two outs in the fifth inning but couldn’t come up with a run. Walker drew a walk, followed by a base hit by LB Dantzler and a walk to Joey Pankake. Grayson Greiner had a competitive at bat and drew the count full against Pecoraro before flying out to deep center to end the inning.
The Commodores tied in the sixth inning. Yastrzemski opened the frame with a base hit to left-center. With two outs and Yastrzemski in scoring position, Spencer Navin knocked a base hit through the right side to tie the game up.
South Carolina had six hits with Vanderbilt finishing with five on the evening. Dantzler and English had two hits apiece to lead the Gamecocks. Walker reached base with a three walks as well. Joey Pankake has now reached base in 15 straight games after drawing the sixth inning walk.
South Carolina will start senior left-hander Michael Roth on Thursday afternoon. Auburn’s starter is to be announced.