Vanderbilt walks off in ninth to remain in SEC tourney; South Carolina eliminated
HOOVER, Ala. -- Conrad Gregor delivered a walk-off single through the right side, lifting No. 1 Vanderbilt past No. 17 South Carolina 4-3 in 10 innings on Thursday in the SEC tournament at the Hoover Met.
The Commodores (49-8) will play in another elimination game on Friday. Tyler Beede (13-0) is the projected starter for the Commodores. South Carolina (39-18) was eliminated from the tournament.
The first two runs of the game came courtesy of a South Carolina error in the bottom of the second. Kyle Smith laid down a sacrifice bunt with two runners on and ended up advancing to third after Gamecocks pitcher Jordan Montgomery overthrew the first baseman. Two batters later, John Norwood drove in Smith from third base on a sacrifice fly, giving Vanderbilt a 3-0 lead.
South Carolina scored its first run in the top of the third. The Gamecocks loaded the bases but were only able to score one run on Grayson Greiner's fielder's choice. In the top of the sixth, South Carolina inched closer on a RBI single up the middle from Max Schrock to cut the Vandy lead to 3-2. In the top of the seventh, South Carolina's LB Dantzler tied the game at 3 on a solo home run to right field.
Vanderbilt mounted a rally in the 10th inning with a base hit from Tony Kemp. Xavier Turner then executed a perfect slash play, pulling a bunt back to swing away, singling through the right side to advance Kemp to third. After Mike Yastrzemski struck out, the Gamecocks chose to intentionally walk Connor Harrell to load the bases and put the bat in Gregor's hands. Gregor did not disappoint, as he poked a single through the right side scoring Kemp on the very first pitch to keep Vanderbilt, which lost to Texas A&M on Wednesday, alive in the SEC Tournament.
Freshman Carson Fulmer (2-0) came in and threw a career-high 4.1 innings of relief to pick up the win. He gave up one run on three hits, while striking out five batters.
After scoring three runs in the second inning, the Commodores' bats went ice-cold. Going into the ninth inning Vanderbilt recorded only two hits after the second inning. For the game, the Commodores finished with nine hits, led by Gregor, Harrell and Vince Conde's two hits apiece. Conde went 2-for-3 at the plate with two doubles. Kemp extended his hitting streak to 10 games with his leadoff single in the 10th inning.
Vanderbilt improved to 12-1 vs. top-25 teams this season and 4-0 in extra-inning games.