Vanderbilt struggles vs. South Carolina

The South Carolina Gamecocks had been struggling in SEC play so far this season, entering a weekend against No. 4 Vanderbilt with just a 6-9 record in conference.

But after a couple of wins on Friday and Saturday, the Gamecocks may be getting things turned around at the right time.

Vanderbilt looked like their normal Vanderbilt selves to open the series on Thursday. Carson Fulmer, a likely top pick in this year’s MLB Draft, kept on rolling as he led the Commodores to a 12-0 domination.

Fulmer (W, 7-1) gave up just three hits over seven innings of work, striking out nine in the process. His ERA for the season is now down to 1.69.

Things looked bleak for South Carolina after that game, but with victories by scores of 5-2 and 3-2 to close the series, the Gamecocks picked up an enormous series win.

Jack Wynkoop (W, 5-4) tossed a complete game on Friday night, letting Vanderbilt only push across runs in one inning, when they scored two in the seventh. That tied the game up for the time being, but Wynkoops’ teammates picked him up, pushing across two runs in the bottom half of the inning, and then an additional insurance run in the 8th.

After falling behind 2-0 through four innings in the series rubber match, South Carolina started getting some offense going in the sixth.

A hit batter, triple and walk started the inning, which chased Vanderbilt starter John Kilichowski.

After a strikeout, Alex Destino tied the game up with a single up the middle. Then another strikeout brought Logan Koch to the plate with two down and runners at first and second.

Koch took the first pitch he saw through the left side, pushing across the eventual series-winning run in Kyle Martin.

Sophomore Taylor Widener pitched the final 2 2/3 innings for USC, in which he only gave up a lone walk.

South Carolina improves to 8-10 in the SEC, while Vanderbilt falls to 12-6. This was the first series win for the Gamecocks in five weeks, and if they make a run in the postseason, just take a look back at Wynkoop’s outing on Friday, and that three-run sixth on Saturday as the reasons they were able to get the wheels turning.

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*Featured Photo (above) credit to Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

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