Baseball: Mullins pitches Vandy past Cocks, 2-1

Columbia, S.C. -- The Vanderbilt Commodores got another outstanding pitching performance – this time from left-hander Ryan Mullins – enroute to a 2-1 come-from-behind win over #4 South Carolina to take the series at Sarge Frye Field. It is only the second time in school history the Commodores have taken a three-game series from the Gamecocks and the first time ever in Columbia. VU won the 1996 matchup in Nashville (2-1).

South Carolina's only run was unearned and scored in the second inning. Steve Pearce reached on an error and moved to second on a Ryan Mahoney single to right field. Pearce advanced to third on a fielder's choice (Brendan Winn) and scored when Tommy King hit a single to shallow left centerfield scoring Pearce for a 1-0 Gamecock lead.

USC's Chris Brown led off the third inning with a walk on four consecutive pitches from Mullins. Campbell reached on a fielder's choice forcing Brown out at second. Steven Tolleson lined out to left field. With two away, Vanderbilt got a boost when centerfielder Antoan Richardson made a jumping catch into the wall to rob Steve Pearce of an RBI. Richardson was greeted with cheers from the partisan crowd when he ran off the field.

Tony Mansolino tied the game at 1-1 in the fourth inning when he hit his third home run of the season – a shot over the left field wall.

With two away in the sixth inning, Jon Willard reached on a throwing error by Mansolino and moved to third on a wild pitch by Mullins. Mullins then struck out Mahoney (looking) to retire the side stranding the runner at third.

The Commodores scored the eventual game-winner in the seventh inning. Starting pitcher Zac McCamie hit Matt Zeller to lead off the seventh. Rucker Taylor laid a bunt down the first base line moving Zeller to second and Taylor was safe when McCamie's throw to first was low. Stephen Shao followed with a chopper to second forcing Taylor out and moving Zeller to third. Baxter then outran Tolleson's throw from shortstop for his 30th RBI of the season with Zeller scoring the game winning run. Brent Marsh replaced McCamie and struck out Jones and Mansolino to retire the side.

In the bottom of the ninth, Mullins struck out Pearce then walked Jon Willard. He struck out pinch hitter Phil Disher on a strike on the outside corner and then walked Brendan Winn after a full count. With two away and runners on first and second, Commodore closer Ryan Rote entered the game and forced Winn out at second to earn his sixth save of the season.

Mullins went 8.2 innings and allowed one run (unearned) on five hits. He struck out seven and walked three and is now undefeated at 4-0 this season.

USC's McCamie struck out a career-high 10 batters – the most by a Gamecock pitcher this season - in the loss and now owns a 7-2 record.

Vanderbilt is now 23-10, 7-7, while South Carolina is 28-8, 8-6 in SEC play.

Game three of the series is Sunday at 1:30 pm ET. Freshman left-hander David Price is on the mound for the Commodores.


VandyMania.com Top Stories