BASE: USC Takes Game Three, 8-2

COLUMBIA, S.C ­— South Carolina jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first and rode the career best start of Blake Cooper on the mound to defeat Vanderbilt 8-2 in front of 5,521 fans Sunday afternoon at Sarge Frye Field.

The Gamecocks salvaged the final game of the series to improve to 23-6 overall and 5-4 in the SEC, while Vanderbilt fell to 26-4 on the year and 5-4 in conference play.

Cooper threw a career 7.2 innings and allowed two runs on six hits with four strikeouts and a walk to move to 4-0 on the year. He held the Commodores scoreless until they broke through with two runs in the eighth.

“Cooper was throwing his fastball and breaking ball for strikes,” said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. “He was pretty good for a young kid.”

James Darnell hit a solo homer and Phil Disher added a two-run shot in the bottom of the first to give the Gamecocks a 3-0 lead.

USC added another run in the second to make it 4-0. Cheyne Hurst led off the inning with an infield single and moved to third on a single by Travis Jones. Reese Havens then grounded into a double play allowing Hurst to score.

The Gamecocks added another run in the third and knocked VU starter Nick Christiani out of the game. He hit James Darnell to start the inning and walked Justin Smoak with an out in the inning before getting relieved by Stephen Shao. Disher plated Darnell with a RBI single to left to make it 5-0.

Disher added a RBI single in the fifth to make it 6-0. The Gamecocks added two more runs in the sixth courtesy of a two-run double by Darnell to make it 8-0.

Shao gave up three runs on six hits in 3.2 innings of relief with two strikeouts and two walks.

Vanderbilt finally got on board in the eighth when Andrew Giobbi singled and eventually scored on a RBI double by David Macias. Alex Feinberg brought him home with a RBI double of his own to make it 8-2.

Shea Robin and David Macias led the Commodores with two hits each.

Cameron Betourne closed out the game with two scoreless innings of relief for VU.

The Commodores will be back in action on Wednesday at Austin Peay at 6 p.m. before returning home for a three-game conference series against Alabama next weekend.

Vanderbilt 000 000 020 – 0 0 1
South Carolina 311 012 00x – 8 10 0

Christiani, Shao (3), Betourne (7) and Robin. Cooper, Farotto (8) and Kline. W- Cooper 4-0, L- Christiani 5-2. Sv- None. HR- USC: Darnell (8), Disher (7).