SEC Tournament Notebook – Day Three
Four teams were 1-1 coming into Friday and only two would be around to play on Saturday. The first game pit the South Carolina Gamecocks, victims of Jess Todd's 17 strikeout windstorm the day before, against the Florida Gators who had already eliminated Alabama.
Both teams had already beaten on each other for twelve innings two days prior, with the Gamecocks sneaking out a 4-3 victory. Both teams had already pitched their respective aces meaning this match up would depend on depth and timely offense.
Florida wasted no time getting to South Carolina starter Mike Cisco. A leadoff hit by Cole Figueroa was eventually followed by a Matt LaPorta long ball that's yet to land.
The Gamecocks would come back though with an onslaught of singles and walks to take the lead for good in their half of the second inning.
Carolina's sophomore right hander Mike Cisco settled in after the LaPorta blast giving up only one hit in the next six innings.
Carolina added to their lead with two insurance runs in the sixth which proved to be the difference.
Jeff Jeffords pitched the last two innings for the save, but not before Florida threatened with a two out rally in the ninth. A single short of tying the game, the Gators were eliminated while the Gamecocks moved on to a Saturday showdown with Arkansas.
"Mike Cisco gave us a great start. Seven quality innings," said Gamecock Head Coach Ray Tanner continued, "He gave us the chance to win."
Possibly a bit insulted that they had to play a Friday game due to a Wednesday loss, Vanderbilt came out attacking the ball. With their backs against the wall, the nation's number one team flexed some muscle early and often.
Tennessee's Nick Hernandez couldn't make it through the second inning giving up two first inning runs along with three more in the second.
Scoring in five of the nine innings, they exploded in the top of the ninth for seven additional runs putting the game out of reach. The outburst came on six hits, a hit batsman and a Tennessee error. The Commodores stuck to the small ball approach with only one extra base hit during the frame.
With the victory, Vanderbilt sends the Vols home and moves on to a Saturday contest with Ole Miss.
"It feels good getting a win over a team like Tennessee because they're a quality opponent," said Vanderbilt second baseman Alex Feinberg, "It was good that everyone had a chance to contribute."
BIG SATURDAY/ LITTLE SATURDAY
The South Carolina Gamecocks and the Vanderbilt Commodores, both ranked among the nation's top 10 teams, need to win two games Saturday to advance to the Championship Game on Sunday. The Gamecocks need to sweep two from red hot Arkansas, yet to be scored upon. The Commodores will need to take two from Ole Miss.
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