South Carolina downs Vandy, 7-4

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The No. 4 South Carolina Gamecocks scored two runs in the sixth and three runs in the seventh to defeat the Vanderbilt Commodores, 7-4, in front of 4,110 fans at Sarge Frye Field to avoid a series sweep. Vanderbilt won the first two games of the series.

After two scoreless innings, the Commodores got on the board in the third. Matt Zeller led off with a single up the middle and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Rucker Taylor. Stephen Shao reached when he hustled down the baseline and second baseman Chris Brown's throw pulled first baseman Steve Pearce off the bag moving Zeller to third. With runners on first and third, Mike Baxter - who was 3-for-5 in the series with runners in scoring position, hit a shot over the first baseman scoring Zeller.

USC scored two in the bottom of the third to take a 2-1 lead. Joey Friddle reached when he laid a bunt down the third baseline and moved to second on a wild pitch by VU starter David Price. Steven Tolleson took a 2-2 pitch over the left centerfield wall for a two-run homerun.

The Commodores tied the game in the fifth. Taylor reached when Friddle, the third baseman, could not get the ball out of his glove. Baxter then hit a double to left centerfield when Davy Gregg crashed into the wall and couldn't hold onto the ball moving Taylor to third. Warner Jones grounded out to the shortstop to score Taylor tying the game, 2-2.

The Gamecocks took the lead in the sixth inning scoring two runs. Steve Pearce led off the inning with a walk. Stephen Reinhold pinch-hit for designated hitter Jon Willard and hit a sacrifice bunt to Price moving Pearce to second. Michael Campbell followed with a triple off the centerfield wall scoring Pearce giving USC a 3-2 lead. Chris Brown then walked and Campbell scored on a passed ball. After Price struck out Ryan Mahoney, Matt Buschmann came in relief to face Brendan Wynn and forced him to ground out to end the inning.

Friddle began the seventh inning with a double down the left field line and moved to third on a wild pitch by Buschmann. Tolleson then walked on four consecutive pitches. Gregg followed with a two-RBI double to extend the USC lead to four runs, 6-2. Reinhold reached when he was hit by a pitch. Michael Wagner then replaced Buschmann on the mond for the Commdores. Campbell doubled down the right field line scoring Tolleson for a 7-2 Gamecock lead.

Brian Hernandez hit his third homerun of the season - his second of the series -scoring Jones narrowing the lead to three runs, 7-4, in the top of the eigth.

Vanderbilt is now 23-11 and 7-8 in the SEC while South Carolina is 29-8 and 9-6 in the SEC. Price went 5.2 innings and gave up four runs - three earned - on five hits in his second loss of the season. He struck out eight and walked two. Buschmann lasted 0.2 innings giving up three runs on two hits. Wagner pitched the final 1.2 innings giving up one hit facing six batters.

Aaron Rawl improved to 7-2 on the season going 7.1 innings giving up four runs, three earned, on 10 hits. Andy Lambert went 0.2 innings and Brent Marsh earned his eighth save of the season pitching the final inning giving up one hit.

Vanderbilt out-hit South Carolina, 11-8, led by Baxter and Hernandez with three each. USC committed three errors in the contest while VU had two.

Vanderbilt host Belmont Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Hawkins Field.

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