AU Evens South Carolina Series With 6-4 Win

Auburn evened the series with South Carolina on Saturday with a 6-4 win in Columbia.

Columbia, S.C.--Auburn used a three-run homer from true freshman shortstop Casey McElroy, a solo shot from Hunter Morris, and solid pitching to defeat South Carolina 6-4 Saturday. The win evens the series with the Gamecocks as Auburn goes for its first series win in Columbia since 1997 on Sunday. Both teams enter Sunday's game with identical records of 25-14 overall and 8-9 in SEC play.

To make the win even more special, coach John Pawlowski had a special visitor at the ballpark as his daughter Mary-Louise was able to attend the game against South Carolina. He said the combination of the win and seeing his daughter at a game made for a great day.

"The team responded after a tough loss last night and on a personal note, my daughter was here today. It was her first game of the year, which was a special game for her and it's just really exciting," Pawlowski said. "It's never easy, home or on the road in the SEC. Jon Luke Jacobs pitched out of some trouble, Bradley Hendrix pitched in and out of some trouble and then Austin Hubbard, when the chips were down, he made pitches in a big spot."

Jacobs got the Tigers into the fifth inning with a solid outing, but it was Hendrix that kept Auburn in front enough to get Hubbard into the game with a chance to win it. Entering with two out and two outs, Hendrix retired the first hitter he faced in the inning and continued on to pitch three total innings before giving way to Hubbard. Hendrix has now won his last seven decisions, all out of the bullpen, and is second in the SEC in wins with a 7-2 mark, one behind LSU's Louis Coleman. The sophomore finished the day allowing two runs on three hits without issuing a walk while striking out one.

"I just wanted to keep the momentum in our dugout and keep their hitters off balance," Hendrix said. "Coach stresses that we make big pitches in big situations and I just focused and it worked out for me."

Auburn got things going in the third as the top three in the order all singled to start the inning with Joseph Sanders collecting the game's first RBI when he plated leadoff man Justin Hargett with a single through the left side of the infield. A Morris groundout to first scored Trent Mummey before McElroy deposited the team's 81st home run of the season into the visitor's bullpen in left-center, a three-run shot to put Auburn up 5-0 going to the home half of the third.

"What a big at bat by Casey, a two-strike home run. We knew it was never going to be easy but I am excited for these guys and now we have a chance, going into Sunday with the series on the line," Pawlowski said.

Morris added to the lead in the top of the fifth when he deposited a solo shot over the wall in right field to put Auburn up 6-0. It was his ninth homer of the season and gave Auburn a commanding six-run lead. That would be enough in this game despite some struggles by Jacobs on the mound.

The redshirt freshman allowed a leadoff single to start the game and issued at least one walk in each of the first three innings before giving up three singles and a walk in the top of the fifth, leaving after a single made it 6-2 Auburn.

Auburn will attempt to win its first series in Columbia since the 1997 season when the two teams square off at 12:30pm CT on Sunday. Auburn has yet to decide on a starting pitcher while South Carolina will send So. RHP Blake Cooper (4-3, 4.57) to the mound.

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