By: Sean Cartell
SEC Digital Network
Highlights | Box Score
HOOVER, Ala. – Conrad Gregor’s RBI single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th inning Thursday lifted top-seeded Vanderbilt to a 4-3 win against fourth-seeded South Carolina in an elimination game at the Southeastern Conference Baseball Tournament played at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.
The Commodores (49-8) advance to face the loser between Mississippi State and Texas A&M in the second game on Friday, which will be carried on CSS. The Gamecocks (39-18) are eliminated from the SEC Tournament after also losing to Mississippi State on Wednesday evening.
Carson Fulmer (2-0) picked up the win for Vanderbilt, pitching 4.1 innings in relief, allowing three hits and one earned run, while striking out five.
Vanderbilt struck first with three runs in the second inning. Connor Harrell singled up the middle to open the inning, followed by a single from Gregor. Kyle Smith reached on a throwing error, which scored Harrell and Gregor. A line-out by John Norwood plated Smith to give the Commodores a 3-0 lead.
South Carolina scored a run in the top of the third inning as Max Schrock singled to right field with one out and came around to score on a fielder’s choice.
The Gamecocks cut their deficit to 3-2 in the top of the sixth inning when Tanner English doubled with two outs and was driven in by Schrock’s single.
A solo home run by South Carolina’s LB Dantzler in the top of the seventh inning, his 15th round-tripper of the season, knotted the score at 3-all.
In the bottom of the 10th inning, Tony Kemp singled through the right side to open the inning. The Commodores would proceed to load the bases, setting up Kemp crossing home plate on Gregor’s winning RBI.
2013 SEC Baseball Tournament
Game 10 – Thursday, May 23 – 1:30 p.m.
#1 Vanderbilt vs. #4 South Carolina
South Carolina Postgame Quotes
Head Coach Chad Holbrook
“Congratulations to Vanderbilt. I thought through nine innings it was a terrific game. I feel good about the way our guys competed and played against a great pitcher. I have no problem with our guys. We gave them three runs because we couldn’t field a bunt. Quite honestly, that was the difference in the game. If we fielded that bunt, we could have won in nine. We have to make those plays. We have to do a better job of bunt defenses because that was a critical play in the second inning. Vanderbilt has a great team. Our guys were ready to play today. I thought they played hard over the course of the game. We executed all but one and that one cost us the game. Obviously, Vanderbilt is a team that can win the National Championship and they’re as good as anybody we’ve played all year. They made plays in the 10th inning to win the game.”
On interference on last play
“I didn’t see the replay, so it doesn’t do me any good to comment on the play. If the collision with the runner impedes the fielder’s chance of fielding the baseball, then yes, it’s interference. I’m just giving you the rule. The umpire said the ball was already in the outfield when the collision occurred.”
On Max Schrock
“He’s got a concussion. It’s a concern. In his previous injury, he didn’t have concussion symptoms, but a neck injury. So this is going to be his first one. That makes me feel better. He took a good shot. He was going to be out the rest of the week anyway. We’ll get him home and rested and hopefully he’ll start feeling better in the next 24-48 hours.”
On today’s performance
“Today it seemed like we could get guys on base, but couldn’t get the big hit to get them in. That was the difference in the game. Vanderbilt was able to get two big hits. We couldn’t get two big hits on the main scoring position. They’re a great team. It’s hard to beat a team without a big hit.”
On getting ready for next week
“Fortunately, we have a week to get back to practice and get some reps. You never want to come here and go two and out. We’re not going to let it get to us. Obviously, we didn’t want to come here and play like this. I don’t think it’s going to affect how we play in Regionals.”
Vanderbilt Postgame Quotes
Head Coach Tim Corbin
“It was a grinding game. 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.”
On game-winning RBI
“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.”
On Jordan Montgomery
“He’s a guy that commands the ball well. He’s older than his age. He’s a young kid, but he’s pitched in Omaha and a lot of big games. I know he has the ability to change speeds and rhythms. He throws strikes. He doesn’t give in. He settled right back in. I credit him. He did a nice job. That’s the kind of pitcher he is. The real Montgomery was today.”
On his career-long outing
“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.”
On whether he asked if he would pitch the 10th inning
“I didn’t ask, I just assumed. I wanted to go as long as possible.”
On his the game-winning hit
“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.”