Scoring zero runs while giving up 10 is not a great strategy in baseball, but for the second time in the last three games, it was the one South Carolina went with, as they fell to Vanderbilt in the series opener on Thursday night.
The first half of the game was scoreless for both sides, but the Commodores put an end to that in the fifth, scoring on a groundout by Enrique Bradfield Jr., a David Diaz double (say that five times fast), an error, and a base hit from Troy LeNeve to take a 4-0 lead.
That was bad enough, but then Vandy broke things wide open in the seventh, more than doubling their run total. By the time it was all said and done, they’d scored five runs on singles by Spencer Jones, Dominic Keegan, and Jack Bulger, a popout from Carter Young, and a base hit by Tate Kolwyck for a 9-0 lead. The final run of the game came on the walk in the eighth inning with the bases loaded, which happened due to three consecutive walks. The game was over by that point given the Gamecocks’ anemic offense, but still, yeesh.
USC starter Noah Hall worked six innings and gave up four hits and four runs. He walked five batters, struck out six, and took the loss, dropping him to 0-4. John Gilreath, Parker Coyne, and Jalen Vasquez also pitched in this game. Dores starter Chris McElvain got the win and is now 4-0. The Cocks managed just five hits, with one each from Braylen Wimmer, Kevin Madden, Brandt Belk, Carson Hornung, and Josiah Sightler. Keegan and Kolwyck led Vanderbilt at the plate with two hits apiece, while Young tallied two RBI.
The Gamecocks now have a losing record for the first time this year, at 10-11, and they’re 0-4 in conference play. (insert grimacing emoji here). The Commodores are 19-2 overall and 4-0 in the SEC. USC will try to right the ship, or at least not get shutout, on Friday, with first pitch set for 7 p.m. at Founders Park.