Baseball: VU loses slugfest; Swept by USC

Nashville - Brian Buscher homered twice, Garris Gonce recorded five RBI and Drew Meyer went 4-for-6 as South Carolina won a 20-13 slugfest over Vanderbilt Sunday, April 14, at Hawkins Field. The series sweep for the seventh-ranked Gamecocks improved their record to 28-8 overall, 9-5 in the Southeastern Conference. Vanderbilt's loss drops its record to 15-15 overall, 3-10 in the league.

Both teams set several season highs in the game. South Carolina set new marks in runs scored (20), hits (22), home runs (five) and walks (10). Vanderbilt set season-best marks in runs scored (13), home runs (three) and RBI (12).

Designated hitter Scott Shapiro led the Vanderbilt charge with two home runs and six RBI on a 3-for-3 afternoon at the plate. His two-home run day was VU's first since Sean Luellwitz hit two home runs at LSU (3/17/02). Chris Broadus went 3-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored. Tony Mansolino went 3-for-5 with a solo home run in the sixth.

Three Gamecocks had three or more hits on the day, including Meyer (4-for-6), Trey Dyson (3-for-5) and Kevin Melillo (3-for-5). Buscher finished the day 2-for-4 with four RBI and three runs scored. Gonce was 2-for-4.

Chris Spigner (4-0) earned the win for South Carolina in relief. He pitched 3.2 innings, allowing five hits, three earned runs with three walks and three strikeouts. Vanderbilt reliever Chris Maultsby (0-2) was tagged with the loss. He lasted only 1.1 innings, giving up six hits, three earned runs and two walks to go along with a strikeout. The Commodores used seven pitchers in the game while four pitchers took the mound for the Gamecocks.

South Carolina scored in every inning but the fifth. Three Gamecocks hit home runs in the first inning off Commodore starter Steven Faulkner. Gonce put USC up 4-0 with his 11th home run of the season, a grand slam to left-center field. Buscher made it back-to-back long balls when he followed with a solo shot to center field. Landon Powell followed two batters later with a solo home runs, his sixth of the year, to make the score 6-0 South Carolina.

Vanderbilt answered in the bottom of the first with four runs on four hits and three Gamecock errors. Broadus and Shapiro posted RBI singles in the inning. Paul Stempel had an RBI on a fielder's choice.

USC pushed their lead to 7-4 in the second went Gonce hit an RBI single to left field.

The Commodores rallied to take a brief 8-7 lead in the bottom of the frame. Broadus singled in Mansolino and Shapiro hit a three-run homer to left-center field, the first home run of his collegiate career.

South Carolina responded with two runs apiece in the third and fourth innings. Steve Thomas hit a two-RBI single in the fourth. Powell hit an RBI double and Meyer hit a sacrifice fly that scored Melillo in the fifth.

Vanderbilt's Scott Vanderhoff made the score 11-9 USC in the bottom of the fifth when his sacrifice fly scored Broadus.

After a Meyer RBI double gave USC an 12-9 advantage in the sixth, Vanderbilt answered with two more runs in the bottom of the inning. Mansolino led off the frame with a solo home run, his third long ball of the year. John Prothro hit a sacrifice fly that scored Cesar Nicolas to trim the Gamecock led to 12-11.

From there South Carolina pulled away, scoring three in the seventh, four in the eighth and one in the ninth. Dyson hit a three-RBI double in the seventh. Yarron Peters hit his 14th home run of the year in the eighth, a solo home run. Buscher followed three batters later with his second home run of the day, and eighth of the season, a three-run home run to give USC a 19-11 lead.

Shapiro hit his second long ball of the day to left-center field in the eighth with Prothro aboard, making the score 19-13.

USC capped off the scoring in the ninth when Peters hit a RBI double to left-center field.

The win was the 17th in a row for USC in the series. Vanderbilt's loss was its 11th in 13 games.

The Commodores play host to Evansville Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday's game is set for a 7 p.m. start. Vanderbilt travels to Florida this weekend for a three-game conference series. Top Stories