USC Gamecocks Baseball

Gamecocks strike back, take third game against Vanderbilt

Chad Holbrook recaps Game 3 win over Vanderbilt

South Carolina baseball coach Chad Holbrook reacts after Saturday's Game 3 win over Vanderbilt.
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South Carolina baseball coach Chad Holbrook reacts after Saturday's Game 3 win over Vanderbilt.

South Carolina didn’t win the series against Vanderbilt, but did recoup some confidence with a victory Saturday.

The No. 11 Gamecocks (21-10, 7-5 SEC) defeated the Commodores 6-1 in the third game of the series, played in front of 8,012 at Founders Park.

Coach Chad Holbrook liked the way his team responded in what he called “up to this point, our most important game of the year.” What the win could mean to the rest of the Gamecocks’ season was a theme in the postgame huddle.

“I did tell them I have good feeling we’ll look back in late May or June and say that game against Vanderbilt was the biggest win of the year,” Holbrook said.

South Carolina entered Saturday having lost four of its past five SEC games by one or two runs. That included a 7-6 loss to Vanderbilt in the series opener and a 5-3 defeat in 13 innings Friday night.

After the quick turnaround for the noon start Saturday, the Gamecocks had extra motivation to leave the ballpark on a positive note.

“We knew we had to come out here today and fight,” second baseman L.T. Tolbert said. “The last thing we wanted to do was get swept. I think we just came out with that chip on our shoulders and wanting to prove something and get a win under our belt.”

Tolbert’s home run in the second inning was his second three-run home run of the series. He finished with nine RBIs on the week and leads the team with a .324 batting average. Saturday’s blast drove in catcher Chris Cullen and designated hitter Carlos Cortes after a pair of singles.

USC starter Adam Hill (2-3) tied his career high with 11 strikeouts. He allowed no hits in six innings, walked five and allowed one run. The Gamecocks, as a staff, had 39 strikeouts for the series, tying a Founders Park record.

Hill’s approach when faced with a possible series sweep was no different, he said.

“Pound fastballs and work off my offspeed,” he said. “That’s usually my mentality, and I had no different mentality today, go right after these guys and make them hit it.”

The Gamecocks added a fourth run in the third inning. Center fielder TJ Hopkins doubled to lead off, was moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by third baseman Jonah Bride and scored on a sac fly by left fielder Alex Destino.

Hopkins and Destino added RBIs in the seventh inning.

The Gamecocks will face North Carolina on Tuesday at BB&T Ballpark in Charlotte, before another home SEC series against Mississippi State.

All-American closer Tyler Johnson has been cleared to return after missing a month because of arm soreness. He’ll be back for the series against the Bulldogs and could see action Tuesday against the Tar Heels, Holbrook said.

“I know it’s not going to be glorified in headlines or anything, but with what our team has been through the last 10, 12, 14 days, that was a big win for us,” Holbrook said. “Our backs were against the wall. Hopefully, they’ll take a deep breath and we’ll continue to evolve into a championship-caliber team.”

LATE FRIDAY

Vanderbilt

ab

r

h

rbi

bb

k

Kendall cf

6

0

1

0

0

3

Scott lf

6

2

2

0

0

2

Infante 1b

6

2

2

3

0

3

Toffey 3b

3

1

0

0

3

1

Raby dh

0

0

0

0

0

0

Grisanti ph/dh

3

0

1

0

0

2

Coleman ph

0

0

0

0

0

0

Duvall ph/dh

2

0

1

0

0

1

Fentress pr

0

0

0

0

0

0

Delay c

3

0

1

0

0

1

Bleday rf

3

0

0

0

0

1

Hayes ph

1

0

1

1

0

0

Ray rf

1

0

0

0

1

0

Jones 2b

5

0

0

0

0

3

Kaiser ss

5

0

1

0

0

0

TOTALS

47

5

10

4

4

17

South Carolina

ab

r

h

rbi

bb

k

Williams 1b

5

1

0

0

0

0

Bride 3b

6

0

2

1

0

0

Destino lf

6

0

1

0

0

1

Cortes dh

5

0

1

1

0

0

Olson rf

5

0

1

0

1

1

Tolbert 2b

5

0

0

0

1

0

Taylor c

6

0

0

0

0

3

Stokes ss

5

1

2

0

0

2

Blair cf

3

1

0

0

1

0

TOTALS

46

3

7

2

3

7

Vandy

000

200

001

000

2

5

USC

003

000

000

000

0

3

E — Jones. DP — Vandy 1. LOB — Vandy 8; S. Carolina 10. 2B — Scott. HR — Infante. HBP — Williams; Cortes. SH — Coleman; Blair. SB —Ray. CS —Kendall.

Vandy

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Wright

6

5

3

0

3

4

Ruppenthal W, 1-1

7

2

0

0

0

3

USC

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Schmidt

7

5

2

2

1

11

Reagan

2/3

1

0

0

0

1

Bowers

4

1

1

1

2

5

Scott L, 1-2

2/3

2

2

2

1

0

Lee

2/3

1

0

0

0

0

WP — Wright; Schmidt. HBP — by Wright (Williams); by Ruppenthal (Cortes). Umpires — HP: Joseph Smith 1B: Tony Walsh 2B: Thomas Walkoviak 3B: Troy Fullwood. T — 4:12. A — 7,412.

SATURDAY

Vanderbilt

ab

r

h

rbi

bb

k

Kendall cf

4

0

0

0

0

3

Scott lf

3

0

0

0

1

1

Infante 1b

4

0

1

0

0

2

Toffey 3b

1

1

0

0

3

0

Grisanti rf

2

0

0

0

0

2

Bleday rf

2

0

2

0

0

0

Wright dh

0

0

0

0

0

0

Hayes ph/dh

4

0

1

1

0

0

Delay c

3

0

0

0

0

2

Coleman ph

1

0

0

0

0

0

Jones 2b

2

0

0

0

1

2

Kaiser ss

3

0

0

0

0

1

TOTALS

29

1

4

1

5

13

South Carolina

ab

r

h

rbi

bb

k

Hopkins cf

4

1

2

1

0

1

Bride 3b

3

0

0

0

0

0

Destino lf

3

0

0

2

0

0

Cullen c

3

1

1

0

0

0

Cortes dh

3

1

2

0

1

0

Olson rf

3

0

0

0

0

0

Tolbert 2b

3

1

1

3

1

0

Stokes ss

3

1

0

0

1

1

Williams 1b

3

1

1

0

0

0

TOTALS

28

6

7

6

3

2

Vandy

000

000

100

1

USC

031

000

20x

6

E — Bride. DP — S. Carolina 1. LOB — Vandy 6; S. Carolina 5. 2B — Hopkins; Williams. HR — Tolbert. HBP — Cullen; Olson. SH — Bride. SF —Destino. CS —Toffey; Hayes; Tolbert.

Vandy

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Fellows L, 3-1

2 2/3

5

4

4

0

1

Conger

3

0

0

0

1

0

King

1/3

1

2

2

1

0

Murfee

1

1

0

0

0

0

Stover

1

0

0

0

1

1

USC

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Hill W, 2-3

6

0

1

1

5

11

Reagan S, 2

3

4

0

0

0

2

WP — Stover. HBP — by Fellows (Cullen); by Conger (Olson). PB — Delay. Umpires — HP: Tony Walsh 1B: Thomas Walkoviak 2B: Troy Fullwood 3B: Joseph Smith. T — 3:02. A — 8,012.

Hill faced 1 batter in the 7th.

King faced 2 batters in the 7th.

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