Tolbert Homers as USC Shuts Down Vanderbilt, 6-1

COLUMBIA, S.C. (USC SID) – Sophomore infielder LT Tolbert launched a three-run homer and sophomore right-hander Adam Hill did not allow a hit in six innings of work as sixth ranked South Carolina defeated 21st ranked Vanderbilt 6-1 on Saturday afternoon at Founders Park. The Gamecocks are now 21-10 on the year and 7-5 in the SEC with the Commodores falling to 21-12 and 6-6 in league play.

Hill allowed just one run to earn his second win of the season.  He is now 2-3 on the year. He struck out 11 and walked five. Senior left-hander Josh Reagan earned his second save of the season after three scoreless innings of relief with just four hits allowed and two strikeouts. Freshman right-hander Drake Fellows suffered the loss after giving up four runs on five hits with one strikeout in 2.2 innings of work. Fellows is now 3-1 on the season.

South Carolina went ahead 3-0 in the bottom of the second inning. Chris Cullen led off with a single as the Vanderbilt infield lost his popup in the sun. Carlos Cortes followed with a single through the right side to set the stage for LT Tolbert, who belted a homer to right field and gave the Gamecocks a three-run cushion.

The Gamecocks added a run in the bottom of the third to extend their lead to 4-0. TJ Hopkins led off with a double to right center and moved to third on Jonah Bride’s sacrifice bunt. Alex Destino drove in Hopkins with a sacrifice fly to center.

Vanderbilt got on the board in the top of the seventh as Will Toffey drew a leadoff walk and JJ Bleday moved him to third with a single to right center. Reed Hayes knocked Toffey in with a RBI single through the left side.

Carolina answered with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the seventh to take a 6-1 lead. Madison Stokes walked and Matt Williams doubled to left center to have runners in scoring position for Hopkins, who singled to center to score Stokes. Destino added a RBI with a groundout to second to score Williams.

GAME CHANGER

The Gamecocks answered Vanderbilt’s run in the seventh with two of their own in the bottom half of the frame to build a five-run cushion and swing momentum into the Carolina dugout.

KEY STAT

Hill did not allow a hit in six-plus innings of work and tied his career high with 11 strikeouts. He also threw 11 strikeouts vs. Appalachian State on Feb. 23, 2016.

NOTABLES

  • LT Tolbert recorded his second home run of the season and recorded three RBIs for the fifth time in his career and third time this week. Tolbert has driven in nine runs in the last four games.
  • Carlos Cortes and TJ Hopkins each recorded multi-hit games with two hits apiece.

QUOTABLE

Head Coach Chad Holbrook

“I’m really proud of our team after how we lost last night. A quick turnaround having to be at the stadium at 8:15, 8:30 this morning. It wasn’t a good night for us, for our kids or our coaches. Our kids kind of willed their way to this win today. Adam [Hill] was terrific. Six innings of work and not giving up a hit and punching out 11. Obviously they gave us a great chance to win. I was really proud of [Josh] Reagan because that’s what happened to him last week with him coming into a big spot. And up to this point our most important game of the year considering what happened the last couple games, he got some awfully big outs for us. Carlos [Cortes] continues to swing it pretty good and LT [Tolbert] another big hit and home run there to get us a lead. It’s a big win for us, like I just told the team you’re going to look back at that number seven win in the league and say that was an awfully big one, just because our backs were against the wall. It will all be read about how we lost the series and that’s ok. Like I told our guys they don’t count how many series wins you have they count how many games you win. Hopefully they will take a deep breath and we will continue to evolve into a championship caliber-type team.”

UP NEXT

The Gamecocks are back in action on Tuesday, April 11 as they travel to Charlotte to take on North Carolina.  First pitch is set for 7 p.m. It will be broadcast on SEC Network+ and is also available on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, “The Game.”

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