Unheralded Heroes Help Give USC Game 2 Win

True freshman Parker Bangs had never had a home run at the collegiate level, or a save as a college pitcher. Saturday, he did both. Phil Disher wouldn't even be a Gamecock had the new baseball rules been in effect when he came to USC. All he did was hit two home runs, including the gamewinner. And Whit Merrifield pulled off a perfectly executed suicide squeeze. Gamecocks win, 8-6.

Auburn, Ala. – Phil Disher hit a pair of home runs including a two-run homer in the eighth inning that helped South Carolina rally to an 8-6 win over Auburn on Saturday afternoon in game two of an SEC baseball series. Junior left-hander Will Atwood earned his fourth win of the season and Parker Bangs picked up his first career save as well as a homer as the Gamecocks improved to 24-10 and 8-6 in the SEC.

The loss drops Auburn to 22-14 and 6-8 in conference play. The two teams meet in the final game of the series with first pitch scheduled for 3 pm ET. A tape delay TV broadcast starting at 4 pm ET will be available on CSS-TV.

With Carolina trailing 5-4 in the eighth inning, the Gamecocks mounted a comeback with two outs as James Darnell reached base on a single up the middle against reliever Taylor Thompson. On a 1-0 count, Disher ripped a fastball to left center that just cleared the 30 foot wall in left center field for a home run to give the Gamecocks a one-run lead. For Disher, it was his second homer of the game and his 12th of the season and gave Carolina a 6-5 edge.

Carolina would add insurance runs in the ninth inning with a suicide squeeze bunt from Whit Merrifield to score Bangs and a wild pitch issued by reliever Bryant Woodall that scored Scott Wingo. Auburn would touch Bangs for a run in the ninth inning as Trent Mummey recorded a two-out RBI base hit. With the winning run at that plate and runners on the corners, Bangs got the final out of the game on a strikeout on a 3-2 pitch against Matt Hall to preserve the Gamecock victory.

Bangs, who started the game at designated hitter, earned the save after two innings of work allowing one run on one hit with a strikeout and a walk. Carolina starter Will Atwood is now 4-1 after earning the victory. He allowed five runs on six hits with six strikeouts and just one walk. The loss went to Thompson for Auburn. He is 2-3 on the year and allowed four runs on three hits in 2.1 innings for the Tigers.

South Carolina out-hit Auburn 10-7 with four home runs on the afternoon. Disher finished 2-for-4 with a pair of homers and three RBI. Seven of his 12 homers have come in SEC games this year. Havens and Bangs also collected two hits apiece with each also tallying a home run on the afternoon. South Carolina has homered 18 times in the last six games including six times in this weekend's series vs. Auburn.

Mummey and Hunter Morris led Auburn with two hits. The Tigers would take the early lead in the bottom of the first inning on a two-run double from Joseph Sanders. Atwood struggled with his control early as he hit Mummey to start the frame and walked Mike Bianucci to give Auburn a pair of runners. With two outs and on a 0-1 pitch, Sanders drilled a double down the left field line to score both runners and give Auburn the 2-0 lead.

Hunter Morris increased the Auburn lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning as he knocked a solo homer to right field. Morris turned on a 1-2 pitch from Atwood for a homer down the right field line, his seventh of the season.

Disher gave Carolina its first run of the afternoon with a solo home run in the top of the fifth inning. He drilled a 2-2 pitch from Auburn starter Cory Luckie that hit the backdrop in center field to cut into the Auburn lead. The Gamecocks then tied the game at 3-3 in the sixth inning with two more runs off of Luckie. Havens started the inning with a solo homer to right field on the first pitch he saw from the southpaw. Havens drilled the pitch for his 11th homer of the year. Singles from Whit Merrifield and Justin Smoak followed with Merrifield then scoring on a RBI groundout courtesy of James Darnell.

Auburn regained its lead in the bottom half of the sixth though as Matt Hall stroked his second homer of the year over the 30 foot wall in left field to give the Tigers a 4-3 advantage. They would add another run in the inning as a double from Hunter Morris to right field and a fielding error by right fielder Harley Lail allowed Mike Bianucci to score all the way from first base and give Auburn a 5-3 lead.

Carolina would score one more time off of Luckie with Bangs opening the seventh inning with his first career solo homer to left field to cut the deficit to a run. Luckie lasted six innings for Auburn and allowed four runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and no walks.

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