As exciting and fun and great as last night's game was, tonight's was pretty much the exact opposite.
Dansby Swanson got hit to start Vandy's half of the first, and it only got worse from there. By the time the inning was over, the 'Dores were up 4-0 and had batted around.
USC got on the board in the next inning, courtesy of a whole bunch of walks, the third of which, taken by Patrick Harringon, made it a 4-1 game. The bases were loaded, but they stayed that way, because apparently that's really a thing this team is into this season.
Another Gamecocks run came in the fifth inning. Gene Cone and Kyle Martin led off with singles, then an error got Cone home. Again, the bases were loaded, and again, they were left loaded (are you seeing a theme?).
Vanderbilt padded their lead in the bottom of the inning. Zander Wiel left the yard to put two more runs on the board, then a two-out triple from Rhett Wiseman made it 7-2. An error brought another run in before the inning came to a close.
Carolina continued to chip away at the lead, scoring once in the next inning, thanks to an RBI double from Martin. Unfortunately, the Commodores answered by scoring once themselves in the bottom of the inning. It was Wiel again, this time with an RBI base hit. There were no late-game heroics in store tonight, and that was the end of the scoring for both teams.
The Gamecocks stranded SO. MANY. RUNNERS. tonight. That has been a troubling trend at times this season, and I would really, really like for it to come to an end. I mean, it's one thing to lose if you just can't create any opportunities. It's another to squander chance after chance after chance.
Jack Wynkoop worked 4.2 innings and gave up nine hits, seven runs, didn't walk any batters, and struck out three. He took the loss and falls to 7-4. Taylor Widener and Hunter Privette also pitched for the Gamecocks.
Vandy starter Carson Fulmer lasted seven innings and allowed seven hits, three runs, issued six walks, and tallied four K's. He earned the win and is now 5-1. Hayden Stone got the save, his third.
Martin had four hits to lead USC, while Wiseman had three to pace the 'Dores.
Max Schrock, aka Baseball Connor Shaw, did not play tonight after aggravating his back injury last night. As helpful as it would be to have him in the lineup this series, there's no point in risking anything. Hopefully he'll get healthy ASAP and be able to play in the postseason.
South Carolina drops to 41-14 overall (17-12 in the SEC), while Vanderbilt improves to 40-15 overall (17-12 in conference play). Tomorrow's rubber game, which is KIND OF A BIG DEAL, is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.