The Daily Gamecock

Vanderbilt cruises to 12-0 win over South Carolina behind dominant pitching performance by Fulmer

One way of telling how good Vanderbilt pitcher Carson Fulmer is is through a box score. The junior right-hander’s scoreline from the Commodores’ 12-0 win over South Carolina was the following: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 9 K.

Another way is with a radar gun. Fulmer, one of the top pitching prospects in the upcoming MLB Draft, consistently topped 91 MPH with his fastball Thursday night. 

But the silent, albeit very telling body language of opposing hitters might explain Fulmer’s prowess better than anything else.

Time and time again, a different South Carolina batter would slowly walk back to the dugout with a slumped head following an unsuccessful at-bat against Fulmer as the Gamecocks lost their fifth straight game.

With the loss, South Carolina has now fallen in 13 of its last 19 contests and the Gamecocks must win on Friday in order to avoid losing their fifth straight straight SEC series.

Needing a win in the worst of ways, South Carolina simply couldn’t overcome a dominant performance by Fulmer as the Lakeland, FL native wouldn’t surrender a hit until the fifth inning, taking advantage of a Gamecock lineup that has struggled to produce at the plate on a consistent basis.

South Carolina head coach Chad Holbrook, who heavily recruited Fulmer when the flamethrower was still honing his skills at the high school level, knew that his team had its hands full.

“When he’s locating his fastball the way he did tonight, it’s going to be a tough night,” Holbrook said. “His breaking ball was spectacular. He’s probably the best pitcher in college baseball.”

Only twice did South Carolina have a base runner reach second base against Fulmer as the Gamecocks struggled to muster together a string of hits capable of sending in a run.

“He’s got really electric stuff,” South Carolina baseman DC Arendas said. “He throws three pitches for strikes. We didn’t do a good enough job tonight as hitters to take one one of those pitches away. I think that’s what happens. He’s got really good stuff.”

Thanks to his strong pitching, Fulmer barely needed any run support from his offense, but he got plenty of it anyway.

Although South Carolina starting pitcher Vince Fiori turned in a solid performance to give the Gamecocks a chance against one of the nation’s top teams, Vanderbilt feasted off the Gamecock bullpen, scoring 10 runs off of five different relief pitchers.

Primarily a middle reliever, Fiori was asked by Holbrook to start against the Commodores after it was announced that sophomore pitcher Wil Crowe was lost for the season due to an elbow injury.

Making his first start of the season, Fiori gave up only two runs (one earned) in 5.1 innings of work, while striking out five Vanderbilt batters.

Not sure what to expect from Fiori, Holbrook was pleased with his performance, saying he gave the Gamecocks an opportunity to win.

“Vince was terrific,” Holbrook said. “I was hoping for three to five innings and he gave us a little bit more than that. Like I said, he kept them at bay for the most part.”

Unfortunately for Fiori, his solid start wouldn’t matter as the Commodores scored eight of their runs in the sixth and seventh innings.

Sophomore center fielder Bryan Reynolds led the Commodores with three RBIs and sophomore designated hitter Ro Coleman drove in two runs as well, while hitting his first home run of the year, too.

For South Carolina, the feeling of defeat is familiar, yet something that doesn’t get easier with time.

“The frustration has piled up, that’s for sure,” Holbrook said. “We just need somebody to step up and make a play and do something in dramatic fashion and maybe we’ll move on,” Holbrook said.

South Carolina takes the field again on Friday at 7:00 p.m. against the Commodores. Junior pitcher Jack Wynkoop is expected to start for the Gamecocks, while junior Walker Buehler should start on the mound for Vanderbilt.


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