Baseball: Vanderbilt visits South Carolina

With a 10-10 SEC record and just three remaining conference series, this weekend's visit to South Carolina is crucial to Vanderbilt's postseason hopes. Look inside for all the details.

Vanderbilt (27-17, 10-10 SEC)
at South Carolina (27-18, 9-12 SEC)
Friday, May 1  6 p.m. CT
Saturday, May 2  6 p.m. CT
Sunday, May 3  12:30 p.m. CT

Radio: 560 AM WNSR.

TV: SportSouth.

Venue: Carolina Stadium (9,000) ; Columbia, S.C.

Series History vs. South Carolina
South Carolina leads 40-17 all-time in a series that dates back to 1992. VU has won the last four regular season series dating back to the 2005 campaign. The Dores have won the last two series in Columbia (2005, 2007) and 10 of the last 14 games overall between the clubs.
The Coaches
VU's Tim Corbin is 266-147 in his seventh season in Nashville. He is 372-285 in 13 seasons overall. He is 11-11 against the Gamecocks.
South Carolina's Ray Tanner is 567-261 in his 13th season in Columbia. He is 962-434-3 in 22 years overall. He is 28-12 all-time against Vanderbilt.
Tentative Pitching Matchups
VU Jr. LHP Mike Minor (4-3, 3.33 ERA) VS. USC So. RHP Sam Dyson (6-3, 5.04 ERA)

VU Jr. RHP Drew Hayes (4-2, 4.22 ERA) VS. USFr. LHP Nolan Belcher (2-3, 4.17 ERA)


Scouting South Carolina
South Carolina is 27-18 overall and 9-12 in SEC play after getting swept at Florida over the weekend. The Gamecocks also had the midweek off for finals and enter the weekend on a four-game losing streak. SC, like the Commodores, lost a majority of its offensive firepower with five starters moving on due to graduation or the amateur draft. Head coach Ray Tanner is in his 13th year and has guided the team to nine consecutive NCAA appearances. This year the Gamecocks moved into Carolina Stadium, a $35-plus million facility with a capacity of 9,000 fans.

Leftfielder DeAngelo Mack leads the team with a .363 batting average to go with 11 homers and 45 RBI. First baseman Nick Ebert is the top power source with 15 homers and 49 RBI to go with a .331 batting average. As a team, South Carolina is hitting at a .302 clip with 72 homers and 324 runs scored (7.2 per game).

Sophomore right-hander Sam Dyson (6-3, 5.04 ERA) will get the start Friday night with freshman left-hander Nolan Belcher (2-3, 4.17 ERA) scheduled to go on Saturday. Sunday's starter is to be determined. Senior southpaw Alex Farotto has served as the closer this year with five saves to go with a 5.19 ERA. He has 33 strikeouts and 17 walks in 26.0 innings pitched. The team has a 5.21 team ERA on the year with 357 strikeouts and 203 walks in 397.1 innings of work.

Scouting Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt went 4-1 on the week with the lone loss, a one-run defeat on the road against Austin Peay last Tuesday. VU then won four in a row, starting with a come from behind win against Big East front-runner Louisville last Wednesday on the road. The win was the first for the Commodores after trailing heading into the ninth (0-13 previously) … The team took the momentum of the win into the Mississippi State series and swept the Bulldogs in three games for the second straight season. VU has now won the last seven meetings dating back to the 2007 SEC tourney and 11 of 13 dating back to the 2004 campaign … The 29 runs scored against MSU was the most in a conference series this year, besting the 25 scored against AuburnBrian Harris led the way on the week, going 10-of-22 (.455) with three doubles, two homers, seven RBI and seven runs scored in five games back in the lead off spot. He drew a 3-2 bases loaded walk to bring in the tying run in the ninth with two outs against Louisville in a game the Commodores would win 4-3 in 10 innings. He accounted for three RBI in that road win and then went 8-for-13 (.615) with two doubles, two homers, four RBI and five runs scored in leading VU to a sweep of Mississippi State. He is now tied for second in the SEC with 16 doubles … Aaron Westlake was 8-for-18 (.444) on the week with two homers, a double, and eight RBI. His homers came in a big way over the weekend, hitting a grand-slam homer in Friday's win over Mississippi State and then adding a three-run homer in Saturday's series clincher. He was 5-for-11 (.455) with a double, two homers and eight RBI in the three games against the Bulldogs. The California native leads the team with a .368 batting average and is among the SEC leaders in hits with 60 … Steven Liddle had a big week as well, going 10-for-23 (.435) with two doubles, two homers, seven RBI and 11 runs scored from the two-hole in the lineup. He went 7-for-14 against MSU with two homers, six RBI and eight runs scored … Curt Casali went 6-for-14 (.429) with two homers and five RBI against the Bulldogs. He now leads the team with eight homers and 44 RBI … Freshman second baseman Riley Reynolds went 7-for-19 (.368) with two doubles and two runs scored on the week … VU hit .322 in five games with nine homers (all on the weekend) and 41 runs scored … Mike Minor picked up his first save since his freshman year against Louisville, recording an out to end the game. He then struck out career-high 13 batters against Mississippi State on Friday. He gave up four runs on seven hits in 7.2 innings and walked three in the winning effort … Drew Hayes picked up his fourth win of the year on Saturday, holding the Bulldogs to two runs on five hits in 5.2 innings with five strikeouts and three walks … Russell Brewer made three relief appearances on the week and did not allow a hit while striking out seven with no walks in three innings. He picked up the win against Louisville and then struck out the only batter he faced in Friday night's win to pick up his third save of the year … Nick Christiani allowed two earned runs in 7.1 innings of relief work on the week with five strikeouts and one walk. He got the win against MSU on Sunday, allowing one run in 3.1 innings with a strikeout … Sonny Gray earned his team best fifth save of the year on Sunday, allowing one run on three hits in 2.2 innings while striking out six and walking none … Sean Bierman earned his first collegiate save on Saturday, allowing two runs on three hits in 3.1 innings with two strikeouts and no walks … The pitching staff sported a 4.00 ERA on the week with 53 strikeouts and 13 walks in 45.0 innings.

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