Yardcocks Sweep Auburn in 7-6 Nailbiter

South Carolina scored five runs in the last four innings on its way to a 7-6 victory over Auburn on Sunday afternoon to sweep a three-game SEC series. The team did suffer a loss when key utilityman Andrew Crisp injured his back in an outfield collision with Whit Merrifield in the bottom of the 7th inning.

Auburn, Ala. – Sophomore right-hander Blake Cooper earned the win after 6.2 innings of work to improve to 4-3 with Brandon Todd earning his fourth save of the year recording the final two outs of the game.

At the halfway point in conference play, Carolina is 25-10 and 9-6 in the SEC while the loss drops Auburn to 22-15 and 6-9 in the conference. South Carolina returns home for a Tuesday night contest vs. USC-Upstate with first pitch scheduled for 7 pm.

Trailing a run entering the sixth inning, South Carolina tied the game as Kyle Enders delivered with a double down the left field line that scored pinch runner Adam Crisp.

Carolina then broke ahead 5-3 in the top of the seventh inning with two runs against the Auburn bullpen. Justin Smoak drew a leadoff walk followed by an infield single from James Darnell to give the Gamecocks a pair of runners with no outs. Phil Disher would put the Gamecocks on top by a run then with a double to left field off the wall allowing Smoak to score from first base. Darnell would eventually score the second run of the inning on a wild pitch issued by Auburn reliever Luke Grienke.

Single runs would put Carolina up by four runs with RBIs from James Darnell and Whit Merrifield in the eighth and ninth innings respectively.

The seventh run would prove crucial for Carolina as Auburn crept to within a run on a one-out three-run homer by Hunter Morris in the bottom of the ninth inning. Carolina then went to Brandon Todd out of the bullpen. Auburn's next batter would reach base as Brian Fletcher got to first base on a throwing error by shortstop Reese Havens. With the potential tying run on first base, Todd struck out Ben Jones and coaxed pinch hitter Kevin Patterson into a groundout at second base to preserve a Gamecock victory.

Blake Cooper allowed three runs on nine hits with three strikeouts and two walks allowed to earn his fourth victory. The loss went to Auburn reliever Scott Shuman, who worked 0.2 innings and allowed a run with two walks. He is 2-2 on the year.

South Carolina continued to use the long ball to get the first run of the game in the first inning against Auburn starter Bradley Hendrix. With one out, Harley Lail drilled the first pitch he saw for a home run that just cleared the 30 foot wall in left field. The homer was Lail's third of the year and gave the Gamecocks a 1-0 lead.

Trent Mummey would tie the game at 1-1 in the bottom half though with a homer of his own to left center. Mummey, a left-handed hitter, knocked the 2-1 pitch from Cooper opposite field to tie the game for the Tigers.

Carolina regained the lead in the third inning. Walks to Reese Havens and Harley Lail gave the Gamecocks runners on first and second base with no outs. Justin Smoak would then hit a sharp grounder to first that Hunter Morris threw to second base to get the force on Lail. On the play, shortstop Matt Hall looked to get a double play but threw high of first base allowing Havens to score on the error from third to home and give the Gamecocks a 2-1 advantage.

Auburn would take its first lead of the game scoring twice in the bottom of the fourth inning. The Tigers tallied three consecutive hits with Hunter Morris doubling, Brian Fletcher hitting a triple and Ben Jones recording a single. Both Fletcher and Jones had RBIs as the Tigers went ahead 3-2.

South Carolina and Auburn each finished with 12 hits on the afternoon. Reese Havens, Justin Smoak, James Darnell and Kyle Enders all had two hits for the Gamecocks. David Cunningham for Auburn led the Tigers with three hits with Trent Mummey, Justin Hargett and Hunter Morris also tallying two apiece.

South Carolina junior Andrew Crisp left the game in the bottom of the seventh inning after a play in left centerfield. Crisp injured his back after he knocked into center fielder Whit Merrifield as he made a catch on a fly ball hit by Justin Hargett.

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