Recap: Gamecocks salvage final game, beat Vandy 6-1 behind Hill, Tolbert

Scott Hood, GamecockCentral.com
Gamecock Central
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Chris Gillespie, Gamecock Central

Looking to avoid a sweep at home, South Carolina faced Vanderbilt in Game 3 of a 3-game SEC series Saturday afternoon at Founders Park. The Gamecocks had a 6-5 conference record with Adam Hill on the mound. How did the Gamecocks fare?

FINAL: South Carolina 6, Vanderbilt 1

LINESCORE

VAN (21-12) – 000 000 100 = 1-4-0

USC (21-10) – 031 000 20x = 6-7-1

WP – Adam Hill (2-3)

LP – Drake Fellows (3-1)

SV – Josh Reagan (2)

HR – USC, L.T. Tolbert (Bot. 2nd, 2 on)

RBI – L.T. Tolbert (3), Alex Destino (2), Hopkins (1).

LOB – USC 5, Vanderbilt 6

A – 8,012

Time – 3:02

Gamecock Pitchers: Adam Hill (6.0, 110 pitches), Josh Reagan (3.0, 47 pitches)

HIGHLIGHTS

-- Gamecock starter Adam Hill enjoyed a feat-or-famine existence in the first two innings as he fanned four and walked three in Vanderbilt’s first two at-bats. But the Commodores didn’t score. Jonah Bride’s fielding error to start the top of the second didn’t hurt the Gamecocks as the runner was thrown out trying to steal third.

-- After going quietly in the bottom of the first, the Gamecocks snapped their 11-inning scoreless drought as singles by Cullen (popup lost in the sun) and Cortes (sharp single to RF) preceded a 3-run homer by L.T. Tolbert over the RF wall for his 2nd homer of the season. The runs were the first by the Gamecocks since the third inning of Friday night’s 13-inning marathon.

-- The Gamecocks added another run in the bottom of the third when T.J. Hopkins ripped a double into the right-center gap, tying him for the team lead with his sixth two-bagger of the season, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and strolled home on Alex Destino’s sacrifice fly to deep center. Destino increased his team-leading RBI count to 24 in 31 games.

-- Hill issued a leadoff walk in the top of the fourth, but the runner was erased on a caught stealing. He fanned the side in the top of the fifth to give him 10 strikeouts in 5.0 IP. When he came out for the top of the sixth, he had thrown 94 pitches with 10 K and 4 BB. Just two Vandy runners had reached third base.

-- Hill continued to mow down the Vanderbilt hitters in the top of the sixth, retiring them in order for the third time in four innings. Just one Vandy batter reached base between the second and sixth innings as Hill set down 8 in a row and 12 of 13 Vanderbilt hitters.

-- Hill walked the leadoff batter in the top of the seventh and was replaced after throwing 110 pitches. He matched his career high with 11 strikeouts. He fanned 11 of the 22 batters he faced and did not allow a hit in 6.0 IP. Josh Reagan took the mound and promptly gave up back-to-back singles as Vanderbilt finally got on the scoreboard. But Reagan slammed the door, limiting the damage to 1 run as he retired the next 3 Vandy hitters.

-- The Gamecocks got that run back and one more in the bottom of the seventh as Hopkins ripped a RBI single to center with the Vanderbilt infield drawn in following a walk and double. Two batters later, Alex Destino drove in his second run of the game with a RBI groundout to second.

-- Reagan closed out the game, snaring a hard comebacker and starting a 1-6-3 double play in the top of the ninth. Jacob Olson ended the game with a diving catch in right-center.

HOW THE RUNS SCORED:

USC 2nd – Cullen singled to short, Cortes singled to right, Olson flied to center, Tolbert homered to right (3 RBI), Stokes fouled to catcher, Williams fouled out to third. 3 RUNS, 3 HITS (USC 3-0).

USC 3rd – Hopkins doubled to right-center, Bride sacrificed (1-3), Destino hit sacrifice fly to center (RBI), Cullen hit by pitch, Cortes singled to right, , Cullen advanced to third and Cortes advanced to second on passed ball, Olson grounded to pitcher. 1 RUN, 2 HITS (USC 4-0).

VAN 7th - Toffey walked, , Bleday singled to right-center, Hayes singled to left (RBI), Delay flied to left, Jones struckout swinging, Kaiser grounded into fielder’s choice (6-4). 1 RUN, 2 HITS (USC 4-1)

USC 7th – Stokes walked, Williams doubled to left-center, , Hopkins singled to center (RBI), Bride popped to short, Destino grounded to second (RBI), Cullen grounded to second. 2 RUNS, 2 HITS (USC 6-1).

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