Streak Touches 10

Vanderbilt takes doubleheader opener

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COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 4 Vanderbilt used a three-run third inning and added insurance late, securing the series against South Carolina with a 9-3 seven-inning victory in the opener of Sunday’s doubleheader at Founders Park.

The win was the Commodores’ (37-9, 17-6 SEC) 10th consecutive and eighth-straight in conference play. Both streaks are the longest streak since 2013. The victory also locked up Vandy’s fourth-straight conference series win and sixth in the last seven opportunities.

Austin Martin (3-for-3) contributed his team-best ninth three-hit game and 24th multi-hit performance. The sophomore slapped a two-run, bases-loaded single in left in the seventh and JJ Bleday (2-for-2) added a two-run triple off the wall in center as part of a four-run seventh.

Philip Clarke (1-for-3) broke a three-all tie in the fifth, lifting a sacrifice fly into right field after Martin singled and Bleday walked. Martin added insurance an inning later, delivering a one-out, run-scoring ground-rule double to score Stephen Scott (leadoff single).

Vanderbilt erased a two-run deficit in the third as five-straight batters reached with one out including Ethan Paul who knotted things up on a grounder that skipped by the first baseman with the bases loaded. Clarke untied the game on an infield RBI-single.

Starting pitcher Kumar Rocker (6-4) scattered five hits and allowed three runs and a walk while striking out seven. The freshman has won his last four starts and held opponents to three earned runs or fewer in 10 of his last 11 appearances.Tyler Brown locked up his 10th save, holding the Gamecocks hitless in the final 1.1 innings. The right-hander became the first Commodore since Ben Bowden in 2016 to notch double-digit saves in a season.South Carolina (24-22, 5-18 SEC) capitalized on consecutive doubles to lead off the second, taking a 2-0 advantage on an Andrew Eyster RBI-double and Chris Cullen sacrifice fly. The Gamecocks evened things up as Eyster clocked a two-out, first-pitch solo home run in the fourth.The teams close the three-game series at 1:20 p.m. CT. Vanderbilt will send Patrick Raby (7-1, 2.77 ERA) to the mound. The contest can be seen on the SEC Network Plus, available on the WatchESPN app, or heard on WNSR 560 AM/95.9 FM and