Casey Weathers had a career night in relief pitching a career long 4.1 innings of two-hit scoreless ball with seven strikeouts and two walks to move to 4-1 on the year. He had one last obstacle in the bottom of the 12th as he hit Harley Lail to lead off the frame. Weathers then promptly struck out James Darnell and Trent Kline then lined into a double play to end the game.
"It was a great game between two good teams in the SEC," said Weathers. "That's why you come to Vanderbilt and to the SEC to play games like this."
Vanderbilt improved to 25-3 overall and 4-3 in SEC play, while South Carolina dropped to 22-5 and 4-3 in league action. It was the third straight SEC opening game that has gone into extra innings for the Commodores.
South Carolina had three consecutive singles, the final a RBI single up the middle by Justin Smoak, to take a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Price got out of a first and third situation with one out in the frame by striking out the next two batters looking to end the threat.
The Gamecocks added another run in the second on a bloop to shallow right by Harley Lail that second baseman Alex Feinberg dropped allowing Andrew Crisp to score from second.
Vanderbilt rallied to tie the game in the fourth inning. Pedro Alvarez and Ryan Flaherty led off the inning with back-to-back singles. After Matt Meingasner struck out and Shea Robin lined out to deep center, Alex Feinberg hit a 0-2 pitch up the middle that got past centerfielder Andrew Crisp allowing two runs to scored to tie the game at 2-2.
The Dores took a 3-2 lead in the seventh on a squeeze bunt single by David Macias. Alex Feinberg led off the inning with a walk and Andrew Giobbi followed with a sharp single to right center off of starter Harris Honeycutt. Brad French moved the runners over with a sacrifice bunt and South Carolina then pulled Honeycutt for Curtis Johnson. Macias then laid a perfect squeeze bunt back to the pitcher, allowing not only Feinberg to score but it also allowed him to reach first. However it wasn't all good news on the play as Jonathan White, who pinch ran for Giobbi, slipped while rounding third and was tagged out by the catcher eliminating a first and third situation.
Honeycutt did not factor in the decision after giving up three runs, two earned, on six hits with a walk and seven strikeouts.
The Gamecocks had a great opportunity to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh as second baseman Travis Jones reached third with one out on a fly ball that David Macias dropped in center. The threat was eliminated on the very next pitch as Reese Havens flew out to shallow center and Jones was gunned down at the plate by Macias to end the inning.
USC did tie it in the bottom of the eighth on a RBI single by Justin Smoak that scored Hayley Lail from third. Lail led off the inning with a walk off of David Price. Price struck out James Darnell for his 10th strikeout of the game, before Trent Kline singled back up the middle to have runners on the corner and one out. Smoak then delivered his single to right to tie the game. Cheyne Hurst then hit a grounder to Alex Feinberg who threw to second base to eliminate Smoak. Casey Weathers then came on in relief of Price and struck out pinch hitter Drew Martin to end the inning.
Price moved finished with his second straight no decision after allowing three runs on eight hits with 10 strikeouts and two walks. He moved past Jeremy Sowers (327) into second place on the school's all-time strikeout list at 336. It was his fifth double-digit strikeout performance in the last six games.
Vanderbilt was unable to take advantage of a leadoff double by Shea Robin in the ninth as USC relief ace Wynn Pelzer got Feinberg, White and French to ground out consecutively to end the threat.
South Carolina had an opportunity of its own to end the game in the bottom of the ninth as Travis Jones walked with one out and stole second base. Reese Havens grounded out to second and Weathers then picked off Jones at second to send the game into extra innings.
VU had another opportunity in the top of the 10th to take the lead as David Macias reached on a hit by a pitch and Pedro Alvarez walked with one out to have the go ahead run in scoring position. South Carolina brought in Will Atwood out of the bullpen and he struck out Ryan Flaherty and got Matt Meingasner to fly out to center to end the threat.
USC had another opportunity to end the game in the 10th as Harley Lail led off with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Weathers proceeded to strike out James Darnell and Trent Kline and after an intentional walk to Justin Smoak, he struck out Cheyne Hurst to push the game into the 11th inning.
Both teams squandered one out singles in the 11th to send the contest in the 12th inning.
Alex Feinberg had an infield single but Atwood struck out Jonathan White and got Brad French to ground out to end VU's half inning. Andrew Crisp singled in the bottom of the 11th, but Travis Jones grounded out and Reese Havens struck out to end the inning.
The Commodores and Gamecocks will play the second game of the three-game set tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m. CDT. VU freshman southpaw Mike Minor (3-0, 2.35 ERA) will make his first SEC start on the mound, while South Carolina will counter with right-hander Mike Cisco (2-1, 3.51 ERA). Fox Sports Net will televise the game regionally.
Score by Innings R H E ----------------------------------------------- Vanderbilt.......... 000 200 100 001 - 4 11 2 South Carolina...... 110 000 010 000 - 3 10 1 -----------------------------------------------