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May 3, 2009

Box Score

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COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina belted out 16 hits including home runs from Parker Bangs, Nick Ebert and DeAngelo Mack and behind a complete game performance by junior right-hander Blake Cooper defeated Vanderbilt 11-3 on Sunday afternoon to sweep a three-game series against the Commodores. The win improves Carolina to 30-18 and 12-12 in the SEC while the loss drops Vanderbilt to 27-20 and 10-13 in league play. South Carolina sits in sole possession of third place in the SEC Eastern Division and seventh place overall. Carolina will return to action on Wednesday night at Wofford with first pitch scheduled for 7 p.m.

The Carolina offense was impressive the entire weekend with a combined 42 hits and 33 runs scored in three games vs. Vanderbilt as well as 10 home runs. Sunday’s game saw six Gamecock starters register multi-hit games. Freshman Jackie Bradley, Jr. was 3-for-5 with a run scored and a RBI. Whit Merrifield, Mack, Ebert, Justin Dalles and Andrew Crisp also tallied two hits apiece as well for the Gamecocks. Mack drove in three runs as did Bangs, who recorded a three-run homer.

Carolina’s series sweep of Vanderbilt is the squad’s first SEC series sweep of the season and the first sweep for Carolina against Vanderbilt since the 2003 season. Bradley, Jr. was 9-for-14 (.643) for the series. Mack finished 7-for-12 (.583) against the Commodores and Ebert was also 6-for-11 with eight RBI.

Steven Liddle paced Vandy with four hits and Curt Casali and Aaron Westlake added two apiece as Vanderbilt finished with 12 on the afternoon.

Cooper went the distance for the second time this season and registered his third career complete game. Cooper scattered 12 hits but allowed just three runs and struck out six batters to earn the victory. He is now 6-4 on the year. Vanderbilt starter Caleb Cotham lasted only two-plus innings and allowed three runs on five hits to suffer the loss. He is 5-5 on the year.

For the third consecutive day, Vanderbilt grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Liddle opened the game with a base hit and after advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt would score on Curt Casali’s RBI single up the middle.

“It was a great weekend for us,” said South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner. We had some adversity (after last week) but we made it through. You have to play it like there is no tomorrow. We were solid on the mound and we gave up some hits and some runs but we had a solid offense to stay in the game.”

Carolina would get to Cotham in the third inning with three runs as Bradley, Jr. drove in Mack with a RBI double that was followed by a two-run homer by Ebert. Ebert had three home runs in the series and now has 18 on the year. That home run chased Cotham from the game.

Carolina added a single run in the fourth inning as Mack drove in his first run with a two-out RBI double to score Merrifield all the way from first base. The Gamecocks tagged Vanderbilt reliever Sonny Gray for three more runs in the sixth inning as Merrifield registered a two-out RBI base hit that was followed by a two-run blast from Mack, his 14th home run of the season. Carolina chased Gray in the seventh inning with four more runs. A three-run pinch-hit homer by Bangs was the highlight of the frame as well as a RBI single by Dalles as Carolina built an 11-1 lead.

Vanderbilt finished the scoring in the eighth inning with two runs as Andrew Giobbi collected a two-run single for the Commodores.