Our long national nightmare has come to an end, South Carolina won an SEC baseball game by beating Vanderbilt 8-2 on Friday night, snapping the Commodores’ 18-game winning streak and setting up a rubber game on Saturday.
The Gamecocks wasted no time scoring runs, going up 3-0 in the first inning. Brandt Belk started things off with a double, Kevin Madden knocked a base hit, and with one out, Andrew Eyster and Michael Braswell both singled to bring runners in, making it 2-0. Thad Ector then brought the third run in with a line out.
USC broke things open in the second, scoring four more runs. Evan Stone singled to lead off, then scored on a double by Belk to make the score 4-0. After Madden got hit by a pitch, Eyster went yard with one out to put the Cocks up 7-0.
Vandy ended the shutout in the fourth, making it a 7-1 game thanks to a single from Jack Bulger. The Dores’ only other run of the game came in the next inning, courtesy of a Davis Diaz flyout that made it 7-2. Carolina’s final run came in the sixth inning on wild pitch, after Belk and Madden singled and Eyster was intentionally walked to load the bases.
Gamecocks starter Will Sanders had a great outing, working seven innings and allowing six hits and two runs. He walked two batters, struck 11 out, and got the win, making him 4-1. Cade Austin went the rest of the way for USC. Vanderbilt starter Carter Holton took the loss and is now 4-1. Belk led the Cocks at the plate with three hits, while Eyster recorded four RBI. Enrique Bradfield Jr. led the Commodores with three hits, while Bulger and Diaz each tallied an RBI.
South Carolina is now 11-11 overall and 1-4 in conference play, while Vanderbilt is 19-3 overall and 4-1 in the SEC. The Cocks will try to take the series on Saturday, with first pitch scheduled for 2 p.m. in Columbia.