A couple of very productive innings helped No. 6 South Carolina roll to a 14-6 win over No. 4 Vanderbilt in the first game of this weekend’s series on Friday night.
The Gamecocks took an early lead, going up 2-0 in the first inning after Dylan Brewer reached on an error with one out and Cole Messina went yard with two. The Commodores answered in the next inning, tying the game then taking a 4-2 lead courtesy of a pair of doubles by Jonathan Vastine and Davis Diaz.
USC got one run back in the fourth, making it a 4-3 game when Messina homered again, then tied the game at 4-4 in the fifth when Michael Braswell hit a solo shot. The Cocks regained the lead for good in the next inning. Ethan Petry started things off with a home run to make it 5-4, then Messina walked and Talmadge LeCroy singled with one out. Carson Hornung followed with a base hit that brought Messina in to push the score to 6-4, then Braswell tripled to get clear the bases and put Carolina up 8-4. An Evan Stone single got Braswell home to make it a 9-4 game.
The Gamecocks broke things even more wide open in the seventh. Petry got hit by a pitch with one out, Casas doubled with two outs, and both scored on a base hit by LeCroy to make the score 11-4. Hornung followed with a homer that pushed USC’s lead to 13-4. Vandy’s final two runs of the game came in the bottom of the inning, thanks to an RJ Schreck fly out and a single by Jack Bulger that made it 13-6. In the eighth, Brewer singled and Petry and Messina walked with two outs to load the bases, then Casas walked too to force in the Cocks’ final run.
South Carolina starter Will Sanders went five innings and allowed five hits and four runs. He walked four batters, struck four out, and got the win, making him 3-1. Eli Jones and Eli Jerzembeck also pitched in this game. Dores starter Bryce Cunningham worked five innings and gave up six hits and six runs. He also issued one walk, struck out seven batters, and took the loss, making him 1-1.
Hornung paced the Gamecocks at the plate with three hits, while he, Messina, and Braswell tallied three RBI each. Diaz and Matthew Polk led Vanderbilt with two hits apiece, while Diaz and Vastine recorded two RBI each.
USC is now 30-4 on the season and 10-2 in the SEC, while the Commodores are 27-7 overall and 11-2 in conference play. They’ll meet again on Saturday, with first pitch scheduled for 3 p.m. in Nashville.