As top seeded Vanderbilt met up with the four seed of South Carolina, it was an expected matchup with how the bracket was set up, but on the other side of the bracket. As both teams had lost their opening games, they met up in an elimination game faced with the reality that one of these teams would be going home earlier than expected. It took extra innings to decide, but eventually Vanderbilt sent South Carolina back to Columbia with a 4-3 win over the Gamecocks.
“It was a grinding game,” said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin.
“There was nothing easy about it for both sides. The pick-me-up was obviously Carson Fulmer. He pitched very well. He pitched out of pressure situations the minute he came in. He got a good hitter out in (Joey) Pankake and continued to pitch throughout the rest of the ballgame. I’m proud of him. We were able to execute at the end and that was the difference. It probably follows suit for a bunch of different games that have been played here thus far,” Corbin continued.
Carson Fulmer pitched 4.1 solid innings of relief for the Commodores allowing three hits and one earned run, while striking out five and walking one, and eventually earning the win on the mound.
“I came in the 6th inning with two outs; had Pankake next, a great hitter, and I just knew that if I got us out of the jam then we would get ourselves back in the game. Just wanted to get out there, throw a bunch of strikes and take control of the game,” explained Fulmer.
When nine innings had come and gone, the game remained tied at 3-3 until the bottom of the tenth.
“They just had a lot of confidence in (Tyler) Webb being able to take care of them. They felt like he could throw the breaking ball to roll Conrad (Gregor) out at the plate. He found a hole. He did hit a slider. It was a ball that just found a gap. We softened the defense because of the situation” said Corbin.
When asked of his game-winning RBI, Gregor simply explained, “I just wanted to be aggressive and not out the game on the umpire hands. I just put a good swing on the ball and found a hole.”
As South Carolina now heads back to Columbia, the Commodores will face Texas A&M on Friday evening following the LSU/Alabama game at 3 p.m. Texas A&M beat Vanderbilt 5-0 on Wednesday afternoon in the previous meeting during the SEC Tournament.