I think this series took years off of my life. Fortunately, it ended on a high note, as USC came from behind to win the rubber game and take the series.
The Gamecocks took an early lead, going up 1-0 in the first inning. Marcus Mooney led off with a single, Kyle Martin followed with a base hit of his own, and a two-out RBI single from Joey Pankake got Mooney home. They had a chance to add another run in the third, but Gene Cone was thrown out at home on a botched call.
The 'Dores tied the game and took the lead in the bottom of the third, courtesy of an RBI double from Bryan Reynolds and an RBI single from Zander Wiel.
Carolina found a way to tie the game themselves a couple of innings later. Tanner English started things off with a single, a bad throw got Cone safely to first, and another bad play by Vandy got Cone on base and English home.
That score held until the eighth inning, when the Gamecocks finally, FINALLY scored with RISP and broke the game open. Gored led off with a walk, another error got Cone to first safely, and both advanced on a nice sac bunt from Patrick Harrington. Mooney walked to fill the bases, and Martin came through with an RBI single to make it 3-2 in favor of South Carolina. With two outs, Pankake knocked an RBI single, and then DC Arendas contributed a 2-RBI single to put the Gamecocks up 6-2.
The Commodores wouldn't go quietly, though, as Dansby Swanson came through with a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the inning. Fortunately, that was all they could muster.
Wil Crowe had a magnificent outing. He worked seven innings and allowed four hits, three runs, didn't walk any batters, and struck out nine. He earned the win and is now 7-3. Joel Seddon also pitched today.
Vandy starter Tyler Ferguson lasted five innings and gave up six hits, one run, issued three walks, and tallied one K. Adam Ravenelle took the loss and falls to 3-1.
Stranding baserunners was a problem again for USC. I think they left enough guys stranded in this series alone to field at least two more baseball teams, which is hardly a good thing. Granted, they came away with wins in two out of the three games, but still. This is an issue overall that I would really, really like to see be corrected.
Mooney led the Gamecocks at the plate with three hits, while Swanson and Wiel had two hits each to pace the 'Dores.
South Carolina improves to 42-14 overall (18-12 in the SEC), while Vanderbilt drops to 40-16 overall (17-13 in conference play). The Gamecocks' record would be impressive no matter what, but given all of the injury/sickness they encountered along the way, it's rather remarkable. USC finishes second in the SEC East and the next time they play will be in the SEC Tournament, where their opponent is TBA. If Alabama beats Mississippi State today, USC will lock up the No. 4 seed in the tourney, which gives them a first-round bye