NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The second-ranked Vanderbilt baseball team dropped the series finale to 16th-ranked South Carolina, 6-5, on Sunday afternoon at Hawkins Field. The loss moves the Commodores to 15-3 on the season, while snapping a 10-game home winning streak.
Vanderbilt jumped out to an early lead with four runs across the first three innings before South Carolina began to chip away. The Gamecocks went on to put up three two-run frames in the fourth, fifth and eighth innings to take the advantage and secure the victory on getaway day.
CJ Rodriguez paced the Vanderbilt offense, finishing 2-for-4 with one scored. The sophomore catcher drove in three of the team’s five runs, while the duo of Dominic Keegan and Jayson Gonzalez contributed one RBI apiece.
The Commodores struck first in the series finale, plating a trio of runs in the first inning. Enrique Bradfield Jr. reached on a leadoff walk before swiping second and third to place himself in scoring position. Keegan brought across the first run of the day with a groundout to the shortstop, placing Vanderbilt in the scoring column.
Two batters later, CJ Rodriguez connected on his first career home run with a two-run shot to left field to put the Commodores ahead, 3-0.
Vanderbilt added to its lead with one run in the third. With one down, Carter Young reached on a bunt single to the first baseman, before Keegan followed with a single through the left side. After a fielder’s choice placed runners on the corners, Rodriguez cashed in on his third RBI of the day with a single to center field to score one and push the lead to 4-0.
South Carolina used a pair of solo home runs in the fourth inning to score two and trim the lead to 4-2.
The Commodores answered back with one in the home half, making it a 5-2 contest. After Cooper Davis reached on a one-out walk, Gonzalez registered his second triple of the season with a RBI three-bagger to right field to score Davis.
South Carolina recorded another two-run inning in the fifth to make it one-run game. A leadoff single followed by back-to-back walks loaded the bases with nobody out. A. double-play ball in the next at-bat cut down two runners but allowed one run to cross for the Gamecocks.
The Gamecocks used a bunt single to bring the inning’s second run across, setting the score at 5-4 after four and a half.
South Carolina registered its third two-run inning of the day in the eighth, this time taking the lead. The frame began with a leadoff single followed by a double to place runners on the corners with nobody out. After a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases, a sacrifice fly to right field scored one run to tie things at five apiece.
The inning continued with a single to right field to load the bases again, before another sacrifice fly brought across go-ahead run to move South Carolina in front, 6-5.
Vanderbilt returns to action on Tuesday evening, welcoming in-state foe Lipscomb to Hawkins Field. The Commodores and Bison are set for a 6:30 p.m. first pitch, with action airing live on SEC Network+.