Vandy Loses Opener to South Carolina, 3-2

Sonny Gray pitched 8 shutout innings, but it was the second inning that cost him a win, allowing all 3 runs in the inning. This was only the second loss of the year at the Hawk in 2010. With the loss, Vanderbilt (5-5) drops to three games behind South Carolina (8-2) and two games in back of Florida (7-3) in the SEC East. Saturday and Sunday games with South Carolina now loom large...

...for this Commodore team.

Vanderbilt scored early, and like South Carolina, scored all of its runs in one inning. Vanderbilt benefited from Gamecock miscues early as Brian Harris started the first inning with a walk, followed by Aaron Westlake being hit by a pitch. These two runners then advanced to second and third after a passed ball. Andrew Giobbi and Jason Esposito both followed with ground outs to second to each record an RBI. So after one, VU was up 2-0 on no hits.

The break out inning for South Carolina was the second as they batted through their order. The inning started with Jeffery Jones hitting a single to right centerfield. He was then sacrificed the second by Adam Matthews. With 2 outs, Kyle Enders blooped an RBI single down the left field line. Bobby Haney then singled and USC had runners at the corners. Scott Wingo then reached base after striking out on a wild pitch and Enders scored. Whit Merrifield then walked to load the bases. The winning run was then scored by South Carolina as Sonny Gray walked Jackie Bradley Jr. After the 3 hits in the second, SC only had 4 other hits in the game with no additional runs crossing the plate.

The story of the game was the pitching from both teams. Sonny Gray pitched all 9 innings and with the exception of the second inning was stellar. Blake Cooper, a senior RHP, was also stellar on the night going 7 1/3 innings allowing only 2 hits and 1 earned run. Cooper picked up the win to go to 6-0 on the year. Sonny Gray had 8 strikeouts but 5 walks contributed to him taking the loss. He is now 4-4 on the year. The bigger story may have been that VU only had 3 hits on the night. It is becoming clear that this team misses the bat of Curt Casali and needs to find some offense quickly.

Vanderbilt dropped to 25-7 on the year and 5-5 in the SEC. South Carolina improved to 24-6 and 8-2 in the SEC. Vanderbilt gets another crack at SC tomorrow at 2 PM CST.

Postgame Interview with Coach Tim Corbin

Craig Johnson: Coach can comment on the importance of this early season series with South Carolina for you and your team.

Tim Corbin: Every series is important to me and the team.

CJ: With Corey Williams going down, who gets his innings?

TC: Grayson Garvin has been pitching well and now that he is back and healthy, he will probably be picking up for Corey. I also need to get Russell Brewer more innings.

CJ: With the offense struggling, would you consider moving Anthony Gomez up in the batting order in order to give him an extra at bat a game?

TC: That is an interesting thought and I may have to consider that with SC throwing a RHP tomorrow. I will sleep on that…..or more likely not sleep tonight.

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