Gene Cone’s one-out sacrifice fly in the eighth inning broke a 3-3 tie and junior right-hander Joel Seddon pitched 2.1 scoreless innings of relief to earn his second win of the season as sixth ranked South Carolina defeated Auburn 4-3 to win the rubber game of a three-game SEC series at Plainsman Park. The Gamecocks are 30-10 and 10-8 in the SEC with Auburn falling to 22-19 and 7-11 in league play. South Carolina is second in the SEC Eastern Division and tied for fourth overall in the league.
The eighth inning saw Kyle Martin lead off with a base hit to center field followed by a single from Grayson Greiner to give the Gamecocks a pair of runners with no outs. After a sacrifice bunt by Patrick Harrington moved both runners to second and third base, Cone lifted a 0-1 pitch to center field scoring Martin and giving the Gamecocks a one-run lead. Auburn would threaten in the bottom of the eighth inning with runners on second and third and one out, however, Seddon would dig deep and work out of the jam with strikeouts of Dan Glevenyak and pinch hitter Sam Gillikin to keep Carolina in control. In the ninth inning, Seddon allowed just a two-out walk as he retired Blake Austin on a flyout to center to seal Carolina’s victory.
Both teams had 10 hits for the afternoon. Greiner went 3-for-4 with two RBI with Martin 2-for-4 with a run scored. Blake Austin was 3-for-5 with Damek Tomscha 2-for-3 and Keegan Thompson 2-for-4 to lead the Tigers at the plate.
Seddon is now 2-1 on the year with the win. Auburn reliever Trey Cochran-Gill suffered the loss and is 0-2 for the season. He allowed one run on two hits in an inning of work.
“We came out loose, and came to the park in a better frame of mind today,” said South Carolina head coach Chad Holbrook. “It was a big win for us and a big weekend for us, having to face some adversity and battling through some things that are out of our control from an injury standpoint. Finding a way to win a big series on the road like this, I hope it gives us some momentum going forward.”
South Carolina wasted no time getting on the scoreboard as they touched Wingenter for a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. Marcus Mooney was hit by a pitch to lead off the game, DC Arendas singled to right-center and Joey Pankake belted a RBI ground rule double to left-center to give the Gamecocks a one-run lead. Arendas would eventually score on a one-out RBI single from Grayson Greiner to left field that gave Carolina a 2-0 lead.
The Tigers would get a run back in the bottom of the first. Ryan Tella and Damek Tomscha drew consecutive one-out walks with Tella then scoring on Blake Austin’s RBI base hit.
South Carolina pushed the lead back to two in the top of the third with Greiner driving in his second run of the game with a RBI double to left-center. With two outs and Arendas on second base, Greiner belted a 0-1 pitch from Michael O’Neal to give the Gamecocks a 3-1 lead.
Auburn cut the Gamecock lead to one run in the bottom of the third. Three consecutive two-out singles by Tella, Tomscha and Austin led to the Tigers’ second run of the game.
The Tigers would tie the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the sixth inning. Blake Austin led off with a single and was sacrificed into scoring position by Dam on Haecker. With two outs and Austin still on second base, Keegan Thompson knocked a RBI single into left-center.
South Carolina starter Wil Crowe battled in no-decision for the freshman right-hander. He allowed three runs on six hits in 5.2 innings with a pair of walks and six strikeouts. Auburn received a jolt by a solid bullpen performance by left-hander Michael O’ Neal, who limited the Gamecocks to one run on five hits in 5.2 innings of work.
South Carolina has won 14 consecutive series vs. Auburn dating back to the 1998 season.
The Gamecocks begin a five-game homestand on Tuesday hosting Davidson at Carolina Stadium. First pitch is 7 p.m. with the game televised on FOX Sports South and can be heard on the Gamecock IMG network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, “The Game.”