Vanderbilt rallies past South Carolina, 8-7

NASHVILLE- Brad French's RBI single in the bottom of the ninth completed a five-run rally as Vanderbilt defeated South Carolina 8-7 Thursday night at Hawkins Field.

The Commodores trailed 7-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh and rallied with two runs in the inning, three in the eighth and the one in the ninth to seal the win. They won their fourth straight contest to move to 32-22 overall and 15-13 in the SEC.

"It's a testament to these guys that they can stay in there and hold them down and win it at the end," said head coach Tim Corbin "I'm really proud of them."

South Carolina fell to 35-19 and 14-14 in conference play.

Ryan Flaherty and Brian Hernandez had RBI singles in the seventh to cut into the lead at 7-4. Brad French sparked the three-run rally in the eighth with a RBI triple and was followed by Flaherty and Hernandez recording their second RBI singles of the game.

Ryan Davis hit a double down the rightfield line with one-out in the ninth and after Alex Feinberg struck out, French delivered his game-winning single up the middle off of reliever Mike Cisco (5-4).

"I've just been waiting for my opportunity," said French "I started off kind of slow and was just cheering on the guys. I got my opportunity today and tried to do what I could with it."

South Carolina used a six-run fifth inning to rally from a 2-1 deficit and take a 7-2 lead. Robbie Grinestaff hit a solo homer to tie it and a sacrifice fly by James Darnell to take the lead. Justin Smoak then capped off the inning with a grand-slam homer to centerfield off of Vanderbilt starter Matt Buschmann.

Buschmann gave up seven run on seven hits in six innings of work with seven strikeouts and a walk.

Casey Weathers pitched to one batter in the eighth and struck him out to pick up the win to move to 1-1 on the year.

Michael Campbell's RBI single in the first gave USC the early 1-0 lead.

Shea Robin's two run double in the fourth gave Vanderbilt a 2-1 lead. It extended his hitting streak to 14 games.

Wynn Pelzer gave up four runs on seven hits in 6.1 innings of work with three strikeouts and five walks.

Flaherty, Hernandez and French each had three hits to lead the Vanderbilt attack. Neil Giesler led South Carolina with three hits on the night.

The teams will meet in the second game of the series tomorrow night at 6 p.m. Reserved section tickets are available through the Vanderbilt ticket office (322-GOLD).

South Carolina 100 060 000-791 Vanderbilt 000 200 231-8(14)0

Pelzer, Tucker (7), Cisco (8) and Kline. Buschmann, Shao (7), Weathers (9) and Hernandez. W- Weathers 1-1, L- Cisco 5-4. Sv- None. HR- USC: Smoak (14), Grinestaff (15).

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