May 19, 2006
Nashville, Tenn. - Brian Hernandez went 4-for-4 with two RBI and Vanderbilt starting pitcher David Price worked into the eighth inning as the Commodores defeated 17th ranked South Carolina 10-6 on Friday evening at Hawkins Field in the second of a three-game SEC baseball series. Vanderbilt is 33-22 and 16-13 in the SEC while the loss drops the Gamecocks to 35-20 and 14-15 in the conference. The Gamecocks are secured of the seventh seed at the SEC Tournament. As the seventh seed, Carolina will face the second seed (either Kentucky or Alabama) at 10 am CT on Wednesday, May 24 on the first day of the SEC Tournament.
It was a tough evening for the Gamecocks, who also lost senior outfielder Michael Campbell early in the game. Campbell would have to leave after the first inning due to a broken right hand of the fourth metacarpal he suffered after being hit by a pitch in the top of the first. He will have surgery when the team returns to Columbia and is likely out for the rest of the 2006 season. Friday night's game for Campbell was his 255th in a Gamecock uniform, a school record, as well as his 234th consecutive start in the outfield.
Price improved to 8-4 on the year with the victory. He went seven innings and allowed four runs on four hits with nine strikeouts and six walks allowed to pick up the win. He is 8-4 on the year. Carolina starting pitcher Will Atwood lasted only four innings and gave up six runs on nine hits to take the loss. He is 4-2 on the season.
Justin Smoak gave the Gamecocks a 2-0 lead in the first inning with a two-run homer off Price, his 15th of the season. After the hit by pitch with Campbell with two outs, Smoak worked the count against Price to 3-2 and crushed a homer to left center to give Carolina a two-run cushion. Smoak has hit 12 of his 15 home runs this season against SEC teams. He currently owns a 10-game hitting streak, his highest of the season.
Vanderbilt came right back in the bottom half of the inning though with two runs of their own off Atwood. David Macias led off the frame with a single and advanced to second base on a one-out single from Ryan Flaherty. After a wild pitch allowed both runners to advance to second and third base, Brian Hernandez hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score Macias for the first run of the inning. Dominic de la Osa would drive in the second run on a two-out RBI single.
The Commodores would go ahead 6-2 in the fourth inning with two home runs off Atwood. Brad French hit a two-run homer and Pedro Alvarez added a solo shot. Alex Feinberg also drove in a run earlier in the frame. Atwood went just four innings and allowed six runs on nine hits. They would add another run in the fifth inning with Brian Hernandez scoring on a wild pitch. Carolina reliever Alex Farotto did work out of a jam though with runners on second and third base with no outs as he struck out both Ryan Davis and Alex Feinberg and coaxed Brad French into a groundout to limit the damage.
Carolina made a late charge and crept to within one run scoring four runs in the eighth inning against the Commodores. The Gamecocks opened the inning with three consecutive walks to Smoak, Jon Willard and Neil Giesler to load the bases. Smoak would score the first run on wild pitch by reliever Cody Crowell. Willard scored Carolina's second run on a RBI base hit from Ian Paxton. Reese Havens would load the bases for the second time in the inning as he drew a one-out walk that set the table for Cheyne Hurst, who knocked a RBI base hit up the middle scoring both Giesler and Paxton and cutting the Vanderbilt lead to 7-6.
Vanderbilt bounced back in the bottom half of the frame though with three runs of their own as Flaherty hit a RBI double to score two runs and was followed up by Brian Hernandez's RBI single. The Commodores had 15 hits to Carolina's seven on the evening. Along with four from Hernandez, Vandy also had three from Flaherty, and two apiece from de la Osa and Robin. Seven different players accounted for the Gamecock hits on the evening. Hurst and Smoak each drove in two runs.
Saturday's finale is set for 1 pm CT. South Carolina will start sophomore RHP Harris Honeycutt (4-0, 3.18 ERA) and he will be opposed by sophomore RHP Ty Davis (5-4, 3.98 ERA). Live gametracker stats and live audio is available at uscsports.com with the game also being broadcast on the Gamecock Radio Network.
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