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May 1, 2009

Box Score

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COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina tallied three home runs in the first three innings and behind 8.2 innings of work by starting pitcher Sam Dyson defeated Vanderbilt 8-5 on Friday evening in game one of a three-game SEC baseball series at Carolina Stadium. The win improves Carolina to 28-18 and 10-12 in the SEC while the loss drops Vanderbilt to 27-18 and 10-11 in conference play. The two teams meet again on Saturday with first pitch at 7 p.m.; the game will be televised live on SportSouth and can also be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network.

Dyson was effective in 8.2 innings as he allowed five runs on nine hits with seven strikeouts and two walks. He is now 7-3 on the year with win. Vanderbilt starting pitcher Mike Minor allowed seven runs on nine hits with four walks and a strikeout to suffer the loss. He is 4-4 for the year. Carolina reliever Alex Farotto came on to get the final out for Carolina with a strikeout to pick up his sixth save of the season.

Carolina’s 10 hits featured three home runs from Jackie Bradley, Jr., Nick Ebert and Justin Dalles. Bradley, Jr. hit a two-run blast in the first with Dalles adding a solo shot in the second and Ebert blasting a solo home run in the third. Bradley, Jr. finished 3-for-5 with two RBI with Ebert 2-for-4 with two RBI as well. Vanderbilt first baseman Curt Casali was 2-for-4 with two RBI with Steven Liddle going 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Jonathan White also had three hits for the Commodores, who finished with nine on the night.

“(Vanderbilt starter) Mike Minor is (a) good pitcher,” said South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner. “I know that if you look at the line you don’t think too much about his outing, but he’s really good. He’s a special pitcher. We had some great at bats against him and runs were still hard to come by. We were trying to just get a run to stay in good position. (Sam) Dyson pitched out of trouble a little bit. He hit one guy and he walked a couple and then he’d get a good pitch and get some guys out. Sam (Dyson) had to make some pitches to get us the win.”

Liddle gave Vanderbilt the early 1-0 lead in the top of the first with a solo home run. Liddle launched a 1-1 pitch from Dyson over the right field wall for his eighth home run of the season.

South Carolina answered with a home run of its own in the bottom half as Jackie Bradley, Jr. launched a two-run homer to right center. Bradley, Jr. roped a 1-1 pitch from Minor for his ninth home run of the year as Carolina took a 2-1 lead.

Carolina added three more in the second inning to increase its lead to 5-1. Dalles got things started with his solo homer, his ninth of the year. Parker Bangs followed with a walk and after Andrew Crisp’s sacrifice bunt scored on a RBI triple by Scott Wingo. Wingo would score the third run of the frame then as Whit Merrifield layed down the sacrifice squeeze bunt perfectly to score the run.

Vanderbilt and South Carolina traded runs in the third inning. Casali drove in Liddle with a two-out RBI base hit. Ebert opened up the bottom of the third with his 16th home run of the season to answer for the Gamecocks. He would also drive in a run in the fourth with a bases loaded walk against Minor. Carolina’s final run came in the seventh inning with an unearned run as Vanderbilt left fielder Joe Loftus misplayed a fly ball allowing pinch runner Casey Rihn to score from second base.

Vanderbilt tried to mount a rally with a run in the eighth inning on a two-out RBI hit from Riley Reynolds. They also scored two runs in the ninth with a RBI single by Casali and a RBI groundout by Andrew Giobbi. With a runner on third base and two outs, Carolina went to the bullpen and Farotto ended the game with a strikeout against Vanderbilt designated hitter Aaron Westlake.