South Carolina Baseball: Gamecocks sweep top-5 Vanderbilt to get back on track

South Carolina baseball swept top-5 Vanderbilt in dominant fashion to get back on track.

South Carolina baseball star Ethan Petry
South Carolina baseball star Ethan Petry / Cyndi Chambers / USA TODAY NETWORK

South Carolina baseball fans were on the verge of melting down last weekend after dropping their opening SEC series to an Ole Miss Rebels team that finished last in the conference in 2023. The Carolina bats continued their trend of subpar performances, and optimism was low for many.

However, a strong offensive output in the mid-week against USC-Upstate instilled a little bit of hope that the Gamecocks could bounce back even with the top-5 Vanderbilt Commodores coming to town this weekend.

Bounce back they did.

After rain postponed the Friday night contest, the Gamecocks and Commodores took part in a doubleheader on Saturday, and Mark Kingston's team dominated all day.

Game 1 of the series saw Eli Jones dominate, carrying a perfect game into the 6th inning. He came out after surrendering a hit and a walk, and one of those runners scored. Chris Veach gave up a couple more but got the win, and Garrett Gainey closed things out.

The offense had a pretty good game. They didn't light up the box score with home runs or string together a bunch of hits, but they were much better situationally, including manufacturing a couple of runs in the 2nd inning and exploiting Vanderbilt's bad defense for 5 more runs in the 7th inning to power the way to the 8-3 victory. Ethan Petry and Cole Messina both reached base at least 3 times.

Game 2 starter Dylan Eskew didn't have his best stuff but battled through 3 innings, giving up just 1 earned run. Ty Good picked up the win, and Parker Marlatt and Garrett Gainey pitched over 3 innings scoreless to finish the contest.

The offense took a step forward in the second leg of the doubleheader. Ethan Petry got on base four more times (8-8 total through two games), including two home runs. Cole Messina and Tyler Causey both also knocked a ball out of the yard en route to an 8-4 win.

The series finale started with a bang as South Carolina scored 6 runs in the 1st inning, started by Parker Noland (a former Vanderbilt Commodore) getting a hit and capped off by Gavin Casas (another former Vanderbilt Commodore) hitting a home run. The Carolina offense scored 10 runs on the day as Kennedy Jones and Dylan Brewer also added homers. Ethan Petry reached base two more times, bringing his series total up to 10 trips to 1st base.

Freshman Tyler Pitzer was great in his weekend starter debut. The youngster went 6 1/3 innings of great pitching as he struck out 9 Vandy batters, walking just 1. He allowed 2 unearned runs after an error that scored after he left the game in the 6th. Matthew Becker finished the game out, allowing no runs after the inherited runners, finishing off the sweep of the 'Dores with a 10-2 thrashing.

The Gamecocks rebounded in about as strong of a way as possible this weekend with the big sweep of Vanderbilt. They will be back in the top-25 rankings next week, and as long as things go as they should in a mid-week contest with Presbyterian, they will be full of confidence when they travel to Alabama to take on the Crimson Tide (who just got swept by the Georgia Bulldogs).




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