The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

Gamecocks hold off Commodores, win 7-4 to advance

230 days ago
Photo: Michael Wade

HOOVER, Ala. -- No. 11 seed South Carolina broke an eight-game SEC Tournament losing streak with a 7-4 extra-inning upset over No. 6 seed Vanderbilt. This is the first career SEC Tournament win for South Carolina head coach Chad Holbrook (1-7).

"It's nice to get a win under our belt here," said South Carolina pitcher Tyler Johnson. "The team gets to stay here a little bit longer. That's all we wanted out of the day and we made it happen."

Johnson closed out the final 4.1 innings, only allowing one hit and striking out eight batters.

"This gives us a chance to take a deep breath," said Holbrook. "Now we're in the double elimination part of it. We're going to be one of eight teams playing and everybody is going to be zero-zero. I'm tickled to death that they get to experience this big win and hopefully that can create some momentum for us."

The Gamecocks closed out the Commodores' tournament hopes with a three-run 11th inning. The Gamecocks loaded the bases off two walked batters and a Justin Row double to left field. Vanderbilt pitcher Reed Hayes (0-2) allowed the go-ahead run to score when he walked Gamecock freshman Riley Hogan, who was 0-for-4 on the day. Junior Alex Destino followed that up with a 2 RBI double to put South Carolina up 7-4.

This is only the second time in the last ten seasons Vanderbilt has lost its tournament opener and the first time since 2003 the Commodores are going home without a tournament win.

Both starting pitchers struggled early, allowing for a combined seven runs off seven hits in the first three innings, resulting in a 4-3 South Carolina lead.

Commodore pitcher Matt Ruppenthal allowed three South Carolina home runs in the first three innings, one each from Row, Carlos Cortes and Jonah Bride.

Ruppenthal has now allowed six home runs in his past six games.

South Carolina RHP Reed Scott (3.96 ERA) allowed the Commodores to stay in the game, loading the bases in the bottom of the second before Vanderbilt third baseman Will Toffey's 3 RBI double tied the game 3-3.

A solo home run by Row in the third put the Gamecocks up 4-3 before both teams fell into a hitting drought. South Carolina and Vanderbilt combined for one hit from the fourth through the sixth before Vanderbilt's Connor Kaiser tied the game 4-4 with his first career home run.

UP NEXT: South Carolina plays No. 3 seed Kentucky Wednesday in Game 5. First pitch is scheduled at 10:30 am ET on SEC Network.