Gamecocks sweep Auburn

South Carolina earned its third conference series sweep of the season with a 7-3 win against Auburn Sunday afternoon at Carolina Stadium. It was the Gamecocks' fifth straight series victory over the Tigers in Columbia and first home sweep over Auburn since 1997.

Carolina continued its offensive firepower from Saturday's 10-2 series-clinching victory while remaining a perfect 7-0 in Sunday conference games. The Gamecocks belted 12 hits -- all singles --  to keep pace in an intense three-way tie for first with Florida and Vanderbilt in the SEC overall standings  and three conference series remaining.

"We're very happy to be able to win today. I knew it would be very difficult like it was Friday night. We found a way to score runs yesterday," said USC head coach Ray Tanner. "Today we got some timely hits and good pitching we've kept battling despite the injuries."

USC starting pitcher Forrest Koumas hurled four solid innings of work to keep Auburn grounded and remain perfect in SEC action, improving to 5-0.  Matt Price picked up his 13th save and staved off a fierce ninth inning  bases loaded Auburn rally that was squelched with a game-ending  double-play ball at second.

Adrian Morales led the Gamecocks at the plate with a 3-for-5 showing, including a RBI and run scored. Batting lead-off, Peter Mooney Mooney was 2-for-2 with two RBI, a walk and a sacrifice fly.

South Carolina's small ball approach paid huge dividends against the Tigers.  USC, who has struggled to produce runs lately, scored 17 in the last two games against Auburn after escaping with a 2-1 win Friday.

The Gamecocks scored first in the opening frame on Brady Thomas' RBI groundout to second, scoring Scott Wingo, who reached earlier on a full-count walk. Auburn quickly recovered, tying the game in the second on Wes Gilmer's sacrifice fly.  The Tigers scattered eight hits in the game but also left eight runners on base.

South Carolina responded in the bottom frame with a pair of runs to take a 3-1 lead.  The Gamecocks juiced the bases on Morales' bloop single over first base and Evan Marzilli and Robert Beary walks. DeSean Anderson scored Morales on a double-play ball but strained his right hamstring while running down the first base line.  Anderson, who started at right field Sunday as Carolina continues to adjust line-up due to a rash of outfielder injuries,  limped down the first base line and was assisted off the field by USC trainers.  Tanner said Anderson will likely be out for a while.

Though it's no laughing matter as Carolina's available line-up keeps dwindling, Tanner did somewhat try to make light of the situation.

"I think we're going to have to hire a couple new trainers, I don't think we have enough," Tanner joked. "Brainard Cooper is over-worked right now to say the least. He's trying hard to get them back as quick as he can. It's been a little bit unusual."

Mooney said it's a matter of fighting off the injury bug that is quickly spreading through the USC dugout.

"Now, everybody's going down. I don't know what's going on; maybe it's the Gatorade we're drinking," said Mooney. "We've just got to try and keep everybody healthy, because right now we're dropping like flies."

Mooney connected on a 2-out single to right field in the second inning to give USC a 3-1 lead. The Tigers trimmed the lead with a run scored in the third inning. South Carolina scored three runs in the middle innings to build a 5-2 cushion on Auburn.  Robert Beary led a 2-run Gamecock inning with a hit by pitch and Steven Neff, playing for Anderson, singled to center with no outs.  Scott Wingo's 1-out walk loaded the bases and Christian Walker followed with a RBI single to score Beary.  Thomas, batting designated-hitter in the 4-spot, drove in his second RBI, scoring Neff from third.  The Gamecocks extended their lead to 6-2 in the following inning as Mooney brought in Marzilli on a RBI sacrifice fly.

Auburn's Casey McElroy ripped a first pitch double off the wall in the sixth inning to set up a  1-out RBI by Wes Gilmer.  South Carolina took a 6-3 lead into the eighth inning.  USC added an insurance run on Morales' RBI single after Thomas' lead-off single to right field.

The Tigers would add drama in their last at-bat, loading the bases with 1 out but couldn't convert any runs. Wacker drilled a bullet to Wingo at second, who doubled-up Hargett second to end the game.

South Carolina (35-8, 17-4) will start a four-game road trip Wednesday with a visit to Wofford before traveling to Oxford for next weekend's three-game series against Ole Miss.

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