The second inning became the latest indicator that Vanderbilt’s baseball team is anything but second-rate.
The Commodores, No. 1 in the latest polls by multiple ranking services, went ahead to stay Friday and Saturday with second-inning runs that propelled them to a two-game sweep at South Carolina. Sunday’s series finale was rained out even after the start time was moved up because of an ominous forecast.
Still, the two wins were enough for them to clinch the SEC East title with two weekends of regular-season games remaining. They also counted as Vanderbilt’s first sweep of South Carolina.
Spencer Navin got the Commodores (41-6, 21-2 in the SEC) started Friday with a two-out, two-run home run in the second inning. The lead was 3-0 after six innings, and Vanderbilt held on for a 3-2 win.
It took more than one swing to build a three-run lead in the second on Saturday. Zander Wiel led off and was hit by a pitch. After that came two singles, a sacrifice, a stolen base, a fielder’s choice and another hit batter. The big hit was Jack Lupo’s single, which scored Wiel and Vince Conde.
South Carolina (33-14, 13-10) had a 9-8 edge in hits on Friday but managed just three – all singles – the Commodores’ 14 on Saturday, when VU starter Tyler Beede carried a no-hitter into the seventh. Wiel, Conde and Mike Yastrzemski all had three hits in the second game.
Vanderbilt plays a non-conference game 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at home against Presbyterian and travels to Kentucky next weekend.