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May 22, 2009

Box Score

Hoover, Ala. – A two-out bases loaded walk to Jonathan White in the top of the ninth inning scored Riley Reynolds to lift Vanderbilt to a 5-4 victory over South Carolina on Thursday evening in SEC Baseball Tournament action. Vanderbilt improves to 33-24 for the season while the loss drops Carolina to 38-20 on the year. South Carolina returns to action on Friday in an elimination game vs. LSU with first pitch scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET at Regions Park. The game will be televised live on FSN South and can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network and at

Tied at 4-4 in the ninth inning, Vanderbilt made their push to regain a lead that South Carolina had twice rallied back from. With one out and Reynolds on first base, the Commodores caught a break as Jason Esposito reached base on a throwing error by third baseman Andrew Crisp. Pinch hitter Joe Loftus then loaded the bases for Vanderbilt with a bloop single to left center. Carolina fought back though as reliever Michael Roth struck out Brian Harris swinging for the second out to keep the game knotted up. That brought White to the plate. In a nine-pitch at-bat that saw White follow off several two-strike pitches, the Vanderbilt center fielder was able to draw a walk scoring Reynolds and giving Vandy a one-run cushion.

Carolina wasn’t done there though and looked to mount a rally as Scott Wingo led off with an infield single that was followed up by a base hit by Whit Merrifield. With one out and runners still on first and second base, Jackie Bradley, Jr. drew a walk to load the bases for Carolina. Vanderbilt went to the bullpen for right-hander Chase Reid against the Gamecocks’ cleanup hitter Nick Ebert. Reid won the battle as he was able to induce Ebert into an infield fly out at second base for the second out of the inning. With the bags still full, Reid closed out the game as he struck out Justin Dalles swinging to end the Carolina threat.

Vanderbilt reliever Richie Goodenow picked up the win and is now 1-1 on the year with Reid earning his first save this season. Roth went two innings and allowed one run, unearned, on two hits with a strikeout and a walk to suffer the loss. He is 1-1 on the year.

Carolina would get on the scoreboard first and took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning. Bobby Haney got things started with a leadoff single to left center. Wingo then gave the Gamecocks a pair of runners as he placed a perfect bunt in between first and second to reach on a base hit. After a sacrifice bunt by Merrifield advanced the runners up a base, DeAngelo Mack drove in Haney with a RBI ground out to first base.

Vanderbilt pushed across two runs in the top half of the fourth to go ahead 2-1 on Carolina. White reached base to lead off with his second hit of the game a single to left center with Seven Liddle following with a double to deep left center that gave the Commodores runners on second and third. With one out, Aaron Westlake drove in a run on a RBI ground out to shortstop. Andrew Giobbi then gave Vandy a one-run lead with a two-out RBI double down the left field line scoring Liddle.

South Carolina answered in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game with a single run against Gray. With two outs and runners on second and third base, Haney drove a base hit up the middle to score Ebert. Carolina looked to score the go ahead run on the play as Andrew Crisp rounded third and headed for home. Vanderbilt shortstop Brian Harris kept the ball in the infield on a diving stop and threw home to nab Crisp to keep the game knotted up a two apiece.

The Commodores regained control in the sixth inning on back-to-back homers from Aaron Westlake and Andrew Giobbi. Westlake launched a 1-2 pitch from Carolina starter Sam Dyson off the scoreboard in right center and Giobbi followed with a drive to left center on a 0-1 pitch to give Vanderbilt the 4-2 lead.

It remained that way until the eighth inning when Carolina tied it up at 4-4. A leadoff walk to Bradley followed by a double down the left field line by Ebert put a pair of runners on base for Carolina. Andrew Crisp would drive in a run with a RBI groundout and pinch hitter Parker Bangs would come through in the clutch with a two-out RBI double down the left field line to score Ebert and knotting the game up before the dramatic ninth inning.

Giobbi was 4-for-4 with a pair of RBI and White went 3-for-4 with a run scored and RBI to account for seven of Vanderbilt’s 10 hits. Merrifield, Ebert, Haney and Wingo all tallied two hits for Carolina. The Gamecocks finished with 11 on the night.

South Carolina starter Sam Dyson allowed four runs on eight hits in seven innings of work with eight strikeouts and one walk. Vanderbilt starter Sonny Gray also worked seven innings and allowed four runs on eight hits with 11 strikeouts and three walks.