Dores K Gamecocks in Series-Opening Win

Rocker fans 14 as Vanderbilt beats South Carolina 3-2

by Chad Bishop

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Another rocking performance from Kumar Rocker and some late-game heroics by Cooper Davis gave Vanderbilt a 3-2 win over visiting South Carolina on Friday at Hawkins Field.

Rocker fanned 14 hitters – including the side in the eighth – to improve to 5-0 on the season. He also got a double play and K in the seventh in a 2-2 ballgame.

The junior went eight innings and was charged two earned runs – his first two runs allowed for the season. Rocker surrendered three hits and walked two while throwing 116 pitches (82 for strikes).

“Outstanding. Just gut-check. Wouldn’t come out of the game,” Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin said. “After the long inning in the bottom of the seventh I went over to (Vanderbilt pitching coach Scott Brown) and said, ‘Brownie that’s probably going to be.’

“He wasn’t coming out of the game. That’s just one of those things where a kid wants the ball again and wants to win. There’s just not too many guys who can find that gear. That’s a different gear from a starter now. There just aren’t guys that are built that way. He’s built differently – mentally and physically.”



Davis, meanwhile, provided the offensive moment of the night by slicing a two-out RBI single between third and second off South Carolina reliever Andrew Peters in the seventh that gave Vandy a 3-2 lead. The hit scored CJ Rodriguez who had walked to lead off the frame.

Luke Murphy (S, 3) pitched the ninth and worked around a one-out walk and a wild pitch to preserve the victory.

“(Murphy) did a good job of catching himself after the walk and kind of regaining himself and hitting the strike zone,” Corbin said. “That was a heckuva job by Luke.”

Vanderbilt (14-2, 1-0 SEC) and South Carolina (11-5, 0-1 SEC) are scheduled to resume the three-game series at 11 a.m. Saturday. That contest can be seen live on SEC Network.



Rocker and South Carolina starter Thomas Farr (2-1) were equally sharp through four innings. Rocker didn’t allow a hit until David Mendham singled with one out in the fifth and Farr allowed his first hit via Isaiah Thomas’ base-knock to right with one out in the bottom half of the inning.

Thomas went to second on a wild pitch after that single then Rodriguez ripped an RBI double into left making it 1-0. Tate Kolwyck followed that with a single to put runners on the corners and then the speed of Enrique Bradfield caused some havoc.

Bradfield’s bunt down the first-base line couldn’t be fielded cleanly by Farr – that allowed Rodriguez to score putting the Dores up 2-0.

Rocker ran into a little bit of trouble in the sixth when a bunt single followed by a fielder’s choice that led to no outs and put runners at first and second. Josiah Sightler banged an RBI double up against the left-field wall to cut the deficit in half making it a 2-1 affair.

Wes Clarke’s RBI groundout tied the score at 2-all. That would be the last time the Gamecocks would cross the plate.

South Carolina’s Farr went 6+ innings and allowed three earned runs on four hits and three walks. He fanned nine and threw 101 pitches.

“Very difficult game. It was a very good college baseball game,” Corbin said. “If you look at the arms out there – I’ve coached here a long time and every single guy that stepped on the rubber tonight is a high-level guy. Those are very good arms.

“Runs were just expensive to come by. When you get good pitching like that it negates good offense. The offense that we did you have to credit the kids.”

— Chad Bishop covers Vanderbilt for
Follow him @MrChadBishop.