Vanderbilt righthander Matt Ruppenthal (Aaron Fitt)


’Dores Dig Deep In Comeback Win


COLUMBIA, S.C. — It’s no secret that the first half was a grind for Vanderbilt, which lost four series in its first seven weekends. The Commodores have tried to stay focused on the process instead of dwelling on the outcomes, but they’re not blind to the reality that the outcomes matter, too. So while the coaching staff worked to ensure that the players did not put oversized emphasis on their Week Eight road series at South Carolina, everyone in the program surely knew just how important this weekend is.

And the Commodores have made the most of their opportunity to make a splash in the first two games of this series. After winning Thursday’s series opener 7-6, Vandy came from behind to tie Friday’s game in the ninth inning en route to a stirring 5-3 victory in 13 innings to clinch the series.

“I don’t think we’re close yet (to where we want to be), but I do see growth,” Vandy coach Tim Corbin said. “It’s been seven, eight tough months. We’ve had to grow because we’re young, and we’ve had to work through some things. They bring their lunch pail every time we come out and train, and I appreciate that, and they’re good kids to be around. It hasn’t come easy, and I don’t really want it to. I don’t think we’re going to get any better if things do come easy. You’ve got to come into situations and you’ve got to kind of go through a little bit of adversity to get better anyway. So we’re fine where we are right now, and I told them, ‘Don’t look at your record, don’t look at your conference record. It doesn’t even matter. Just keep moving forward and keep growing.’”

Friday’s win certainly didn’t come easy, but that made it all the more gratifying. It’s hard enough to get one quality start on the road in the SEC, but the Commodores essentially got two of them in one game Friday, and they needed every bit of grit that righties Kyle Wright and Matt Ruppenthal could muster to win a game started by electric South Carolina ace Clarke Schmidt, who was outstanding in a no-decision.

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