Tigers Blasted By South Carolina

Auburn falls to South Carolina for the second consecutive night.

Columbia, S.C.--South Carolina broke open a close game with a six-run seventh inning as the Gamecocks cruised to a 10-2 win over the Auburn Tigers Saturday night at Carolina Stadium.

Auburn (23-20, 9-11) had just five hits in the loss as South Carolina's pitching was the story as starter Colby Holmes allowed two runs on four hits in seven and one third innings. He struck out seven and walked three in the win.

On the flipside Auburn's pitching was a far cry from what Jon Luke Jacobs delivered on Friday. Making the start junior Derek Varnadore allowed four runs on five hits in three and one/third innings. Zach Blatt allowed five runs on three hits and walked four in three and one/third while Slade Smith and Jay Wade finished off the game for the Tigers. As a team Auburn walked seven and did not strike out a South Carolina batter.

"We didn't have many opportunities," Auburn's John Pawlowski said. "We had the bases loaded early in the game and Zach Alvord hit a bullet for a double play. That's about all we threatened. They pitched extremely well and I thought we left the zone a little bit too much. Not a great ballgame for us tonight.

"There were too many free passes," he added. "Against any team in this league it's going to be tough and you're going to be on your heels. You really have to make some pitches. Unfortunately we didn't do that. I told the team we need to come back tomorrow and find a way to salvage at least one out of this series."

Things didn't get much better from an injury standpoint as junior Dan Gamache injured a hamstring in the second inning and missed the remainder of the game. Pawlowski said they would evaluate things and see if he can help tomorrow."

South Carolina (34-8, 16-4) got thing started early on Saturday night with a single run in the second inning and Auburn tied it up in the top of the fourth with a solo homer from Kevin Patterson. With a game that looked to be taking the form of Friday night's pitching duel Varnadore went back out in the bottom of the fourth, but wouldn't make it out of the inning.

Time and time again this season Auburn has struggled getting leadoff batters out and that proved to be a problem again as Varnadore walked Brady Thomas to get the ball rolling for the Gamecocks. Following a Jake Williams single, Adrian Morales bunted both runners into scoring position.

Evan Marzilli then singled home Thomas to put South Carolina ahead for good, but the Gamecocks were just getting started. On a 2-2 pitch Varnadore hit Robert Beary to load the bases for DeSean Anderson. He reached on a fielder's choice and an error on Casey McElroy at third allowed Williams to score for the 3-1 lead. Blatt came in and immediately hit the first batter he faced with a pitch to make it a three-run lead, but did manage to get a double play to end the inning.

Now down 4-1 and in serious trouble against one of the nation's top pitching staffs, Auburn was struggling to get anything going offensively. Fortunately Blatt settled in and kept the score the same until South Carolina blew things open in the seventh.

Once again the Gamecocks got started with a walk to Blatt gave a free pass to Peter Mooney. After a sacrifice bunt moved him to second Auburn walked Christian Walker intentionally to set up the force play. Blatt however uncorked a wild pitch and an infield single pushed across Mooney for a 5-1 lead.

Another walk, a sacrifice fly, and a single brought Blatt's day to a close as Slade Smith came on and immediately gave up a double that scored two more runs. An error finished off the scoring for South Carolina as they now led 10-1 and put things in cruise control.

The Tigers got another solo home run in the top of the eighth off Holmes before reliever Tyler Webb came on to finish things off and secure the series win for the Gamecocks.

Auburn will try to salvage a game in the series on Sunday as Cory Luckie takes the mound with the first pitch scheduled for 2 p.m. central time. The game will be shown on ESPN.

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