Columbia, S.C. – No. 2 Vanderbilt used an early home run from Spencer Navin and a stellar start from Kevin Ziomek to win the series opener 3-2 at No. 15 South Carolina on Friday night.
The Commodores (40-6, 20-2) picked up a big two-out, two-run homer from Navin in the second inning to take an early lead. With an early lead, Ziomek went to work against the South Carolina (33-13, 13-9) lineup. The lefty responded with seven scoreless innings before allowing a run in the eighth. Ziomek worked out of a jam in the fourth inning when South Carolina put two runners on base with back-to-back singles from Joey Pankake and LB Dantzler. The Dores' defense picked up their pitcher with Tony Kemp snaring a line drive and Vince Conde making a nice play at second base to end the inning and the threat. Ziomek finally ran into trouble in the eighth when Pankake doubled with two outs to score Graham Saiko, who also doubled. Ziomek bounced back to strike out Dantzler for the second straight at-bat and end the Gamecocks' threat.
Brian Miller recorded two quick outs in the ninth before pinch hitter Kyle Martin belted a solo home run to make it a one-run game before Miller got his third ground ball of the inning to end the game. Miller picked up his school record 13th save and finished off Ziomek's ninth win. Ziomek (9-2) turned in his 10th quality start of the season allowing one run on eight hits with no walks and four strikeouts over eight innings. For the first time this season, Commodores' pitching did not issue a walk in the game. South Carolina starter Nolan Belcher (6-5) took the loss giving up three runs on six hits in six innings of work.
Vanderbilt added an insurance run in the sixth inning when Mike Yastrzemski reached on a walk. The senior moved to second on a wild pitch and stole third for the Dores' 100th stolen base of the season. Conrad Gregor cashed in on the opportunity, singling through the middle to score Yastrzemski and give Vandy a three-run lead. Seven Commodores had at least one hit in the win led by Navin with two hits. Pankake and Dantzler led the Gamecocks with two hits each.
Sophomore Tyler Beede (11-0) gets the ball for Vanderbilt tomorrow against South Carolina lefty Jordan Montgomery (3-0). First pitch is scheduled for 11 a.m. CT on FSN.
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