April 10, 2010
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Around the Bases
Vanderbilt past South Carolina
By Jimmy Jones
Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com
(photos by Danny Parker)
Tenn.--Great pitching continues to be center stage in the SEC
series between the No. 12 South Carolina Gamecocks and the No.
20 Vanderbilt Commodores.
This time it was the Black and Gold that got an outstanding
performance from sophomore Jack Armstrong (5-0, 3-0 SEC) (right)
who solidified his position in the rotation with a career-high
eight-inning effort to pace the Commodores to an 8-2 win in
front of a season-high 3,197 sun-drenched fans.
"Once again we had a great pitching performance," said
Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. "I thought Jack got the game
going quick for us and that started some momentum in the dugout
especially after the first inning where we had a runner on first
and second and didn't score. We got some big hits in timely
situations and scored five runs in the third, but Jack gave us a
chance to catch up."
It was Armstrong's second consecutive stellar outing after
twirling a shutout through six innings against ninth-ranked
Florida on the road last weekend.
"I thought I had control of all three of my pitches today and
were throwing all of them for strikes," Armstrong said. "In the
summer when I was pitching in the Cape I was more of
fastball-change guy, but now that I'm back to facing metal bats
I've been working a lot on my curveball with pitching coach
Derek Johnson and that's been a big difference maker for me."
Harrell got things started for Vanderbilt with a single in the
second inning and he promptly stole second base. Joe Loftus
(right) picked up the RBI with a solid single into right field
to make the score 1-0.
Back-to-back hits by Bryan Johns and Aaron Westlake to start the
third opened the gates for a five-run rally to chase Gamecock
starter Sam Dyson from the game in his shortest outing of the
Loftus had a two-run base hit, Harrell's infield single scored
another run and freshman sensation Anthony Gomez doubled in the
final two runners of the inning to bump the margin to 6-0.
Gamecocks cut into the lead in the fifth on RBI singles by Scott
Wingo (left) and Whit Merrifield.
The Commodores answered in the eighth when Riley Reynolds
reached home on a wild pitch and Jason Esposito picked up his
40th RBI of the year with a single to score Westlake to account
for the final score.
Dyson allowed six runs, all earned, on eight hits in 2.2 innings
with three strikeouts to drop to 2-2 on the season for South
Mata (right) came on in relief in the third and threw 4.2
innings of scoreless relief before giving way to Nolan Belcher
in the eighth. Mata allowed four hits in his stint.
Armstrong scattered six hits with four strikeouts and just one
Chase Reid closed out the ninth by striking out two of the four
hitters he faced.
The Commodores evened the series and improved to 26-7 over and
6-5 in Southeastern Conference play, while the Gamecocks fell to
24-7 and 8-3 in league action.
The teams will meet in the rubber game of the three-game set
Sunday at 1 p.m. Junior right-hander Taylor Hill (3-2, 3.95 ERA)
will take the hill for VU, while South Carolina sends senior
right-hander Jay Brown (1-0, 3.79 ERA) to the mound.