No. 6 South Carolina scored early but couldn’t build any momentum on Saturday, losing to No. 4 Vanderbilt 8-5 to even up the series.
The Gamecocks went up 1-0 in the first after Braylen Wimmer walked and later scored on a two-out double by Cole Messina. After Gavin Casas and Talmadge LeCroy walked to load the bases, Michael Braswell singled to bring in two runs, pushing the score to 3-0, and Evan Stone got hit by a pitch to force in another run and put USC on top 4-0.
The Commodores ended the shutout in the third inning, making it a 4-3 game courtesy of homers from RJ Schreck and Jack Bulger. Vandy tied the game then took the lead in the fifth, going up 5-4 thanks to a wild pitch and an RJ Austin base hit. The Dores added to their lead in the seventh, scoring their final three runs on a pair of singles by Bulger and Austin and a Chris Maldonado fly out. The Cocks’ final run came in the ninth on a two-out solo shot by Wimmer.
Carolina starter Jack Mahoney pitched 4.1 innings and allowed five hits and five runs. He also walked one batter, struck out four, and took the loss, making him 4-1. Chris Veach, James Hicks, and Nick Proctor combined to go the rest of the way for the Gamecocks. Vanderbilt starter Carter Holton went 0.2 innings and gave up two hits and four runs. He also issued four walks and struck one batter out. Reliever Patrick Reilly got the win and is now 2-1.
Wimmer, Messina, Braswell, and Dylan Brewer had one hit each for USC, while Braswell tallied two RBI. Bulger and Austin paced the Commodores with two hits apiece, while they and Schreck each recorded two RBI.
The Cocks are now 30-5 overall and 10-3 in conference play, while Vandy is 28-7 overall and 13-2 in conference play. The rubber game is set for 2 p.m. on Sunday.