NASHVILLE, Tenn. – No. 4 Vanderbilt produced five-plus runs in three different innings including nine runs in the sixth, running its season-high win streak to nine games with a 22-11 victory against South Carolina in the series opener on Friday night at Founders Park.
Vanderbilt’s 22 runs were the most in 92 all-time meetings against South Carolina. The output was the Commodores most ever in an SEC road game and highest in a conference meeting since plating 27 at home against Alabama in 1988.
Nine players logged a hit and an RBI including first baseman Julian Infante (3-for-4) who clubbed a grand slam in the seventh inning and totaled six RBIs. Right fielder JJ Bleday matched Pedro Alvarez’s program record with his 22nd home run of the season, coming in the fourth.
Vandy (36-9, 16-6 SEC) batted around in the fourth, erasing a four-run deficit behind five hits.Austin Martin (3-for-4) smacked a two-run double into the left field corner to put the Commodores up 6-5. Ty Duvall (1-for-3) drove in a pair, shooting a single through the right side.
The Commodores sent 14 batters to the plate and scored seven runs before the first out was recorded in the sixth. Vanderbilt tagged five different South Carolina (24-21, 5-17 SEC) batters for 15 hits while taking advantage of 11 walks.
Commodore reliever Ethan Smith (4-0) settled things down after starter Drake Fellows permitted eight runs (seven earned) and three walks while striking out five. Smith allowed a hit and a run while matching the most strikeouts for a Commodore reliever this season with eight across 3.1 innings.Vanderbilt batted .524 (11-for-21) with runners aboard and .643 (9-for-14) with runners in scoring position. The Gamecocks tied the game at eight-all with a three-run home run in the fourth only to see the Commodores score the next 14 runs, stretching their advantage to 22-8.The Dores were perfect in bases-loaded situations (5-for-5) and with runners on third and less than two outs (10-for-10). Martin, Stephen Scott, Pat DeMarco and Duvall each scored three runs. Martin, Paul and Duvall totaled three RBIs apiece.The clubs return to action Saturday with the middle game set for 7 p.m. CT on ESPNU. The Commodores will send right-hander Kumar Rocker (5-4, 4.31 ERA) to the mound against righty Reid Morgan (3-4, 3.63 ERA). Fans can also listen via WNSR 560 AM/95.9 FM and VUCommodores.com.