Gamecocks falter late in game one of doubleheader
SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS BASEBALL
The Gamecocks couldn't keep Vanderbilt's offense bottled up for long in game one of a seven-inning doubleheader Saturday.
After fighting back to tie Saturday's game at three runs apiece through four innings, Vanderbilt scored six unanswered runs over the last three innings for a 9-3 win.
The Gamecocks (24-21, 5-18 SEC) have now dropped all eight SEC series so far this season.
The Gamecocks jumped out to a quick lead in the second inning, using back-to-back doubles from Jacob Olson and Andrew Eyster to plate the game's first run before Brady Allen bunted Eyster to third and Chris Cullen drove him in with a sacrifice fly.
Vanderbilt tied the game soon after that, getting three runs on three hits and an error in the third. After starter Reid Morgan loaded the bases with one out, a fielding error from Cullen plated a run before an RBI single from Philip Clarke gave Vanderbilt the lead.
It was Eyster again in the fourth, cranking an opposite-field homer to the Gamecocks' bullpen in right-center to tie the game, his seventh homer of the season.
Over his last five games, the sophomore outfielder's driven in six runs and has three extra base hits.
Morgan pitched himself into some trouble in the fifth, putting the first two batters of the inning on and, after a double steal, gave up a sac fly to Clarke as Vandy took the lead.
He'd leave after putting two on with one out in the sixth with closer Brett Kerry coming in after him and surrendering one of the runners he inherited on a RBI ground rule double from Austin Martin.
Morgan (3-5, 3.86 ERA) finished after 5.1 innings, giving up five runs—four earned—and striking out four. He'd walk a season-high six batters and it's the first time this season he's finished an outing with more free passes than strikeouts.
The Gamecocks had their chances late, putting a runner in scoring position with no outs in the sixth after a leadoff single and stolen base from TJ Hopkins, but couldn't scratch him across.
After Eyster's game-tying homer, Brady Allen tripled to right with two outs but was stranded there as well.
They stranded five runners in game one Sunday and hit 1-for-9 with runners on base.
Vanderbilt put up four runs in the seventh inning to add some insurance, loading the bases with no outs off Sawyer Bridges. After two quick outs, Martin roped a two-run single to left before a bases-clearing triple from JJ Bleday.
Player of the game: Eyster finished the day with two hits, both for extra bases, and drove in two of the team's three runs. He also walked in his third plate appearance.
Key moment: In the fifth inning, it looked Morgan got a strikeout mixed with a caught stealing to clear the bases with two outs. Instead, home plate ump Jason Bradley said the batter walked and that put two on with no outs. Vanderbilt scored the go-ahead run that same inning.
Up next: Game three in the series is Sunday, 40 minutes after the conclusion of this game on the SEC Network Plus. Cam Tringali is the likely starter.