NASHVILLE, Tenn. – No. 4 Vanderbilt rides a season-high eight-game win streak into Friday’s 6 p.m. CT series opener at South Carolina from Founders Park. The contest can be seen on the SEC Network Plus and heard on WNSR 560 AM/95.9 FM and VUCommodores.com.
Saturday’s middle game will air on ESPNU at 7 p.m. CT and Sunday’s 12:30 p.m. CT finale is on the SEC Network Plus. Vanderbilt (35-9, 15-6 SEC) enters the weekend tied for first in the SEC standings with Arkansas and is two games up on Georgia in the league’s eastern division.
Vanderbilt is 19-0 in night games and 11-0 in series openers. The Commodores have won six-straight SEC contests for the first time since 2014. The last time Vandy won seven-or-more consecutive was 11 straight during its historic 2013 campaign.
South Carolina (24-20, 5-16 SEC) beings an eight-game homestand this weekend. The Gamecocks are looking to rebound after dropping consecutive league series including a three-game sweep at Missouri last weekend. This weekend pits the conference’s top-two home-run hitting teams with the Gamecocks clubbing 63 and Vanderbilt entering with 58.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
– FRIDAY:RHP Drake Fellows (9-0, 3.67 ERA) vs. RHP Daniel Lloyd (3-3, 7.43 ERA)
– SATURDAY: RHP Kumar Rocker (5-4, 4.31 ERA) vs. RHP Reid Morgan (3-4, 3.63 ERA)
– SUNDAY: RHP Patrick Raby (7-1, 2.77 ERA) vs. TBA
NEED TO KNOW
Vanderbilt and South Carolina meet for the 92nd time in the history of the programs Friday. The Gamecocks lead the all-time series 58-33 and 25-14 in Columbia. Vandy is 27-29 vs. South Carolina under head coach Tim Corbin (2003-present). The Dores have won two of their last three series in Columbia including taking 2-of-3 in 2017.
With Tuesday’s win against Tennessee Tech, Vanderbilt matched its win total (35) from a season ago. The Commodores have won 30-plus games in 16 consecutive seasons (2004-present) and are searching for their 10th 40-plus win season in that time frame.
Vandy ranks No. 2 in the RPI, holding steady there following its win against Tennessee Tech. The Dores are 16-7 against opponents in the RPI top 50 and 8-1 vs. foes between 51-100. South Carolina is currently No. 71 in the RPI. Six of the top 15 in the RPI hail from the SEC.
Right fielder JJ Bleday is tied with Tulane’s Kody Hoese’s for the national lead. Bleday is second in program lore for single-season homers and is one shy of Pedro Alvarez’s program record of 22 set in 2006. Right-hander Patrick Raby needs one victory to becomes the program’s all-time winningest pitcher. The senior enters the weekend tied with Jeff Peeples’ (1970-73) mark of 29.
Vanderbilt visits Louisville for the eighth installment of the Battle of the Barrel. The matchup is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday on ESPNU. The Cardinals have won the last three meetings for the trophy, which pays homage to Kentucky’s history as a bourbon-making state and Tennessee’s history as a whiskey-making state.