Gamecocks Edge Auburn 8-7 To Win Series

Gamecocks Edge Auburn 8-7 To Win Series

Columbia, S.C. - Brendan Winn drove in two runs with a homer and a double Sunday and threw two runners out at the plate from right field and South Carolina survived a ninth inning Auburn rally to win 8-7 and take the Southeastern Conference baseball series two games to one...

South Carolina, which had only 10 hits, none for extra bases, in splitting the first two games, collected 16 hits Sunday against five Auburn pitchers. The barrage included five doubles and three home runs. The 16 were the most hits by South Carolina in a month. The Gamecocks had 19 hits, April 2, in a win over Georgia.

Winn doubled to drive in a run in the fourth inning and hit his 10th homer of the season in the fifth, but it was his defensive plays that probably saved the victory for South Carolina. Auburn had runners at second and third with one out in the top of the fourth inning. Josh Donaldson lifted a fly to Winn and he gunned down Jeff Boutwell attempting to score after the catch. In the fifth inning Winn threw out Adam Stacey attempting to score from second base on a hit by Josh Bell.

South Carolina built an 8-2 lead until Auburn narrowed the deficit to 8-5 with three runs in the eighth inning. With one out in the ninth Gamecock shortstop Steven Tolleson dropped a high pop up by pinch hitter Joey Husking for a two base error. With two outs Clete Thomas homered over the center field batter's back drop but Brent Marsh struck out Bell and earned his 10th save of the season.

Jason Fletcher pitched the first five innings for South Carolina and got the win to improve his record to 5-3. Auburn starter Cliff Mullins, 1-1, was charged with the loss. South Carolina improved to 32-12 overall, 12-9 in the conference. Auburn dropped to 27-19, 9-12.

Auburn scored an unearned run in the first inning when Thomas doubled, moved to third on a passed ball, and scored on Karl Amonite's single to short right field.

Neil Giesler hit his second home run of the year with Mark Stanley on base in the second inning to give the Gamecocks a 2-1 lead which they never relinquished.

Stanley's single and Winn's double made it 3-1 in the fourth inning and, after Auburn cut it to 3-2 in the top of the fifth, South Carolina struck for four runs in the bottom of that inning to lead 7-2. Tolleson and Steve Pearce had back to back doubles, followed by a two run homer by Phil Disher, before Winn hit his home run.

Back to back doubles by Michael Campbell and Tolleson scored the final Gamecock run in the sixth inning.

Jeff Jeffords, who relieved Fletcher after five innings, was rocking along with an 8-2 lead until Auburn's first four batters in the eighth inning reached base. A walk, wild pitch, singles by Tyler Johnstone, Bell and Amonite brought Marsh on in relief of Jeffords and he put out the fire, although the third Tiger run of the inning scored on a sacrifice fly.

Tolleson had three hits. Campbell, Disher, Stanley, Winn and Giesler had two each. Auburn had 11 hits, three of them by Thomas. Bell and Amonite had two hits.

South Carolina travels to Greenville for a Wednesday night non-conference game against Furman and the Gamecocks will be in Knoxville this weekend for a Southeastern Conference series with Tennessee.

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