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Sanders' Gem, Early Runs Keys Baseball to Friday Night Win over No. 4 Vanderbilt

by Kent Reichert

The Gamecocks scored seven runs in the first two innings in the 8-2 win over the Commodores.

COLUMBIA – The University of South Carolina baseball team jumped out with seven runs in the first two innings and Will Sanders struck out 11 in seven innings of work in an 8-2 win over No. 4 Vanderbilt Friday night (March 25) at Founders Park.
 
The Gamecocks put up three in the first inning. Brandt Belk doubled to start the frame. He went to third on a Kevin Madden single and scored on Andrew Eyster’s RBI single. Michael Braswell then singled to left, scoring Madden. After a walk to Colin Burgess, Thad Ector’s sacrifice fly scored Eyster and Carolina led 3-0.
 
Carolina then scored four in the second. Evan Stone singled and scored on Belk’s RBI double. Madden was hit by a pitch and with two on, Eyster homered to right for his fourth round tripper of the season. Vandy scraped single runs in the fourth and fifth frames. Carolina added a run in the sixth as Belk scored on a wild pitch.
 
Sanders allowed six hits and two runs with two walks to go with the 11 strikeouts to move to 4-1 on the season. Cade Austin struck out three in the final two innings as Carolina snapped its five-game losing streak and Vanderbilt’s 18-game winning streak.
 
Eyster was 2-for-3 with four RBI and two runs scored. Belk went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI. Madden and Braylen Wimmer added two hits apiece.

POSTGAME NOTES

  • Sanders was in double digits in strikeouts for the second time this season (14 vs. Clemson). He also has 10 career wins as a Gamecock.
  • Brandt Belk extended his hitting streak to 11 games in the three-hit performance.
  • Belk’s two doubles tonight gives him a team-high seven on the season.
  • Vandy starter Carter Holton had a .111 opponent’s batting average heading into tonight’s game, but Carolina had seven hits and scored seven runs off the freshman in 1.1 innings pitched.

UP NEXT
Carolina and Vanderbilt close out the three-game series Saturday afternoon (March 26) at 2 p.m. at Founders Park. The game will be on SEC Network Plus.
 

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