Gamecocks skid continues in loss to Vanderbilt
It was a pitchers’ duel for much of the night between No. 16 South Carolina and No. 2 Vanderbilt as the Gamecocks and Commodores opened SEC play, but Vanderbilt surged late to secure a 3-2 victory.
Offense was hard to come by on both sides with the two teams combining for just eight hits and a single baserunner for each in the opening four frames. Vanderbilt scratched across two runs in the fifth inning, which the Gamecocks matched in the sixth, but a Vanderbilt run in seventh proved to be the difference.
South Carolina starter Thomas Farr struck out nine Commodores and took a no-hit bid into the fifth inning but gave up three earned runs before exiting with no outs in the seventh inning. For Farr, it was the first time he had allowed multiple runs in a start this season.
However, South Carolina’s best hitters seemed very muted on their first night in the Music City. After hitting his tenth homerun of 2021 on Wednesday, Wes Clarke was just walked twice and registered an RBI on a sacrifice groundball, and his teammates did not fare much better.
Josiah Sightler had the biggest hit of the night with an RBI double in the sixth that scored Braylen Wimmer and set up Clarke’s RBI on the next play, but only Brady Allen and David Mendham joined him in the hit column.
For Vanderbilt, the star of the night was junior starting pitcher Kumar Rocker. Rocker, a top prospect in this summer’s MLB Draft, worked eight innings while allowing just two earned runs on three hits and striking out fourteen Gamecock hitters to earn the win.
After beginning the season with eleven straight wins, South Carolina has now dropped their last five games with losses to Texas, Davidson, and now Vanderbilt.
The Gamecocks (11-5, 0-1 SEC) and Commodores (10-5, 1-0 SEC) face off again tomorrow at noon with Brannon Jordan and Jack Leiter, respectively, slated to take the mound. The two teams will complete the series at 2 p.m. on Sunday.