Gamecocks Fall Short In 8-7 Loss To Vanderbilt
May 18, 2006
Nashville, Tenn. - Brad French's two-out RBI single in the ninth inning capped a five-run rally as Vanderbilt came back to defeat 17th ranked South Carolina 8-7 in the first of a three-game SEC baseball series. The Commodores scored six runs in the final three innings of play to defeat the Gamecocks. Vandy is 32-22 and 15-13 in the SEC with Carolina now 35-19 and 14-14 in the conference. Despite the loss, Carolina clinched a spot in the SEC Tournament following losses by both Mississippi State and Tennessee. Carolina enters the final two games of the series playing for a seed as high as fourth or as low as eighth.
Down 7-2, the Commodores started their rally in the bottom half the seventh with two runs as Ryan Flaherty and Brian Hernandez each delivered RBI singles. They would tie the game with the eighth inning scoring three more times with French coming through for his first RBI of the game with a one-out triple and scoring on Flaherty's second RBI hit of the game. David Macias would then than tie the game as he scored on a wild pitch from reliever Mike Cisco, who entered the game in the eighth inning. Cisco, a normal starter for Carolina, would get out of the inning though with left fielder Cheyne Hurst helping him out as he gunned down Flaherty at the plate from the outfield. Vanderbilt however would come back in the ninth inning to score once to win the game. French would deliver the game-winning hit with two outs with a single to center field to score Ryan Davis and secure the Vanderbilt victory.
Casey Weathers earned the win out of the bullpen for Vandy with 0.1 innings of work. Vanderbilt had a solid effort from reliever Stephen Shao, who pitched 2.2 scoreless innings of relief and allowed just two hits. Cisco suffered the loss and is now 5-4 on the year. He went 1.1 innings out of the pen and allowed one run on three hits. Carolina starting pitcher Wynn Pelzer went 6.1 innings and allowed four runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and five walks. Left-handed reliever Chase Tucker also appeared and worked 1 inning allowing three runs on four hits.
The Gamecocks would break out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first as Michael Campbell put South Carolina on top with a two-out RBI triple to score Neil Giesler from first base. Campbell's triple was his third of the year and his 13th of his career, giving him sole possession of the USC all-time record. Mac White (1991-94) and Bill Harley (1930-33) held the previous record with 12 triples. He had two hits on the afternoon and is now just four shy of White's school record.
The Commodores would first get to Pelzer in the fourth inning as a two-out RBI double from Shea Robin scored both Brian Hernandez and Dominic de la Osa giving Vandy a 2-1 lead.
Carolina grabbed a 7-2 lead in the fifth inning scoring six runs off Vanderbilt starting pitcher Matt Buschmann. The inning began with Robbie Grinestaff tying the game at 2-2 with a solo homer to deep left center, his 15th home run of the season. Reese Havens continued the inning for Carolina drawing a one-out walk and advancing to third on Cheyne Hurst's single. Havens would score the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly to center courtesy of pinch hitter James Darnell. With two outs, Neil Giesler would single and Michael Campbell was hit by the first pitch from Matt Buschmann to load the bases and set the stage for Justin Smoak. The freshman first baseman from Carolina launched the first pitch from Buschmann to center field and over the wall for a grand slam extending the Gamecock lead to 7-2. For Smoak, it was his 14th of the season and his first career grand slam. Carolina has hit consecutive grand slams in the last two games. Grinestaff hit his first career grand slam on Tuesday night in the win over Furman.
Vanderbilt finished with a 14-9 hit advantage with Flaherty, Hernandez and French finishing with three apiece. Robin also had two hits for the Commodores. Giesler went 3-for-4 with two runs scored to lead the Gamecocks. Campbell and Hurst also had two hits.
Both teams continue the series on Friday night at 6 pm CT. The game will be televised on CSS-TV. Carolina has moved freshman LHP Will Atwood (4-1, 4.19 ERA) to the start while Vanderbilt will counter with sophomore LHP David Price (7-4, 3.90 ERA). Live audio and gametracker stats are available at uscsports.com.