Vanderbilt 10 South Carolina 6

NASHVILLE- Vanderbilt broke a 2-2 game with a four-run fourth inning and held on to defeat South Carolina 10-6 Friday night at Hawkins Field.

The Commodores took the season series against the Gamecocks for the second straight year and improved to 33-22 overall and 16-13 in SEC play. USC fell to 35-20 and 14-15 in conference play and are now locked into the seventh seed going into the SEC Tournament next week in Hoover, Ala.

"I liked the way we responded a couple of times in the game," said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. "In the bottom of the first and when they made their comeback in the eighth inning, we answered. The bottom line is David (Price) pitched pretty well and we had some big hits when we needed to."

Price struck out nine in seven innings of work and is now the single season record holder in strikeouts with 139, besting the 35-year old record set by Doug Wessel in 1971. The Murfreesboro product moved to 8-4 on the year after giving up four runs on four hits with six walks in the contest.

A fielder's choice RBI by Alex Feinberg plated the first run in the fourth and Brad French followed with a two-run homer, his third of the year, over the "Green Monster" wall in leftfield to make it 5-2. Pedro Alvarez closed out the scoring with a towering blast, his 16th of the season, which landed in the parking lot behind rightfield.

VU added a run on a wild pitch with the bases loaded in the fifth to extend the lead to 7-2.

The Gamecocks scored four runs in the eighth to cut the lead to 7-6. They had the go ahead runner at second base with two outs before reliever Casey Weathers ended the threat by striking out pinch hitter Drew Martin.

"Coach (Derek) Johnson tells us all the time pressure is perceived, so you just got to go in there and do the best you can," said Weathers.

Weathers picked up the save after pitching 1.2 innings and allowing one hit with three strikeouts. He now has a win and a save in two innings this weekend. <

Vanderbilt then put the game away with three runs in the bottom of the inning. Ryan Flaherty had a two-run double and Brian Hernandez added a RBI infield single.

Justin Smoak staked the Gamecocks to a 2-0 lead in the first with a two-run homer to left field off of Vanderbilt starter David Price.

The Commodores came back to tie the game in their half off a sacrifice fly by Brian Hernandez and a RBI single by Dominic de la Osa.

Brian Hernandez led all hitters with four hits on the day, while Ryan Flaherty chipped in with three of his own and two RBI.

Will Spotwood (4-2) was charged with the loss after giving up six runs on nine hits in four innings of work.

The teams will close out the regular season Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. Reserved section tickets are available through the Vanderbilt ticket office (322-GOLD).

South Carolina  200 000 040-671
Vanderbilt      200 410 03x-10(15)0

Atwood, Lalor, Farotto (5), Lambert (8) and Paxton. Price, Crowell (8), Christiani (8), Weathers (8) and Hernandez. W- Price 8-4, L- Atwood 4-2. Sv- Weathers (2). HR- USC: Smoak (15). VU: French (3), Alvarez (16)


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