Vandy Takes Game One in 13 Inning Duel

Vanderbilt's Ryan Flaherty's bases loaded RBI single to right field in the bottom of the 13th inning lifted the Commodores to a 4-3 win over South Carolina in the first of a three- game SEC series at Hawkins Field in Nashville, Tenn.

Vanderbilt is 11-3 and 1-0 in the SEC while the loss drops Carolina to 10-4 and 0-1 in the conference. Both teams meet in game two of the series with first pitch set for 3 pm ET on Saturday afternoon.

Vanderbilt's bottom half of the 13th started off with a one-out walk on a 3-2 pitch from reliever Brandon Todd to Brian Harris. David Macias followed with a single to left and Alex Feinberg also drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch loading the bases and setting the stage for Flaherty. Already with four hits including a game-tying homer in the ninth inning for Vanderbilt, Flaherty connected with the game-winner on Todd's 3-2 pitch through the right side to seal the victory for the Commodores.

Carolina almost scored in the top of the 13th inning with a pair of runners on first and second base and with two outs. On Vanderbilt reliever Russel Brewer's 0-1 pitch, Andrew Crisp drilled a single to right field. On the play Vanderbilt right fielder Dominic De La OSA threw a bullet to home plate to throw out Justin Smoak for the third out of the inning and keep the game deadlocked at 3-3.

Brewer earned the win and is 2-0 on the year. He went 1.2 innings and allowed just one hit and two walks while striking out one batter. Todd took the loss for Carolina and is now 0-1 this year. He worked an inning and allowed one run on four hits with two walks and two strikeouts.

Both teams went back and forth trading runs throughout the first nine innings as the top-10 showdown in Nashville lived up to its hype. Vanderbilt touched Carolina starting pitcher Mike Cisco for a run in the bottom of the third inning. The Commodores put together three consecutive singles to score the first run of the game. Flaherty knocked a one-out single to right field followed by a single up the middle from Dominic de la Osa. With runners on first and second, Commodore first baseman Andrew Giobbi delivered a RBI single up the middle to score Flaherty for a 1-0 Vanderbilt lead. Cisco was able to get out of the jam though against the next hitter as he forced Curt Casali to ground into a 6-3 double play to end the frame.

Carolina tied the game at 1-1 in the top of the fourth inning. Vanderbilt starter Mike Minor pitched a perfect first three innings and had retired the first 10 batters until Whit Merrifield tagged him with a solo home run to left centerfield. Merrifield drilled the first pitch he saw from Minor for his third round tripper of the year. Carolina has now hit a home run in 13 of 14 games this season.

The Commodores regained the lead in the seventh inning. Brian Harris hit a sharp hit ball up the middle off of Cisco to reach first on a base hit. David Macias followed with a bunt single down the first base line to give Vanderbilt runners on first and second with no out. Curtis Johnson was summoned from the Carolina bullpen to face Alex Feinberg, who sacrificed the runners over to second and third. After an intentional walk to Ryan Flaherty loaded the bases, Dominic de la Osa hit a short grounder to second baseman Scott Wingo for an out scoring Harris and giving Vanderbilt a 2-1 lead.

South Carolina came back and tied the game in the eighth inning. Andrew Crisp hit a leadoff single that was followed by Phil Disher's double down the left field line to give the Gamecocks runners on second and third with no outs.

Both starting pitchers Mike Cisco and Mike Minor were effective in their starts for the respective teams. Cisco worked six-plus innings and allowed two runs on nine hits with four strikeouts and two walks. Minor went 8.2 innings and allowed three runs on six hits with 10 strikeouts and a walk. Both teams exchanged runs in the ninth inning.

The Gamecocks went ahead 3-2 in the top of the ninth as Kyle Enders reached base with one out on a double and scored on Harley Lail's two-out double to left field. The Commodores then tied it in dramatic fashion in the bottom half with two outs as Flaherty connected with a solo home run to right centerfield off a 2-1 pitch from Curtis Johnson to knot the game at 3-3 and to send the game into extra innings.

Johnson ended up going five innings in relief allowing just the one run on four hits with two strikeouts and a walk allowed.

Vanderbilt finished with a 17-10 hit advantage with Flaherty leading the way with his five hits. Dominic de la Osa added three hits with Macias, Giobbi and Robin also putting together two hits apiece. Andrew Crisp and Whit Merrifield led the way for Carolina as they each tallied two hits on the evening.

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