AUBURN, ALA. (USC SID) – Conor Davis’ two-out three-run pinch-hit homer in the bottom of the ninth inning lifted 10th ranked Auburn to a 6-5 win over fourth ranked South Carolina in the rubber game of a three-game SEC baseball series at Plainsman Park. The Gamecocks are now 19-8 and 6-3 in the SEC with Auburn 23-7 and 7-2 in league play.
With the Gamecocks leading 5-3 entering the bottom of the ninth inning, Auburn mounted its rally as Jonah Todd led off with an infield single on a slow chopper to second base followed by a base hit by Daniel Robert. Gamecock reliever Josh Reagan dug in and got the next two outs. That’s when Auburn elected to go to the bench with Davis going to the plate as the pinch hitter. With a 2-1 count Davis belted a homer over the wall in left field for his first home run of the season and a walk-off win for the Tigers.
Auburn reliever Calvin Coker earned the win in relief. He pitched two scoreless innings of relief. Reagan suffered the loss and is 3-1 on the year. He allowed three runs on three hits in 2.2 innings of work with no walks and three strikeouts.
South Carolina broke ahead 1-0 in the bottom of the second inning. Chris Cullen led off with a double off the wall in left field and scored on Jonah Bride’s two-out RBI single to left-center. The Gamecocks increased the lead to 2-0 in the fourth. Jacob Olson led off with a walk, advanced to third on Bride’s single to center and scored on LT Tolbert’s sacrifice fly to center field.
Auburn tied it at 2-2 in the fourth inning on a RBI groundout by Daniel Robert and a two-out RBI single from Dylan Ingram.
Auburn went ahead 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning. Jay Estes’ third hit of the afternoon was a leadoff double in the frame. He would score on a one-out sacrifice fly to center off the bat of Robert.
Carolina responded in the top of the seventh with a three-run frame to take a 5-3 lead. Bride led off with a double that was followed by LT Tolbert’s bunt for a base hit. A fielder’s choice off the bat of Madison Stokes would score a run to tie the game. TJ Hopkins then launched a two-run homer over the wall in left field giving Carolina a two-run cushion.
Davis’ three-run homer in the ninth inning.
Auburn’s 2-3-4 hitters in the lineup (Jay Estes, Jonah Todd and Daniel Robert) combined to go 7-for-10 at the plate with four of the five runs scored in the game.
South Carolina starter Adam Hill allowed two runs on five hits in five innings of work with a walk and three strikeouts.
Jonah Bride was South Carolina’s leading hitter at the plate going 3-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored as well as his fourth double of the season.
LT Tolbert was 2-for-3 with a RBI and is tied with Jacob Olson for the team lead with nine multi-hit games.
QUOTABLE FROM HEAD COACH CHAD HOLBROOK
“I’m proud of my team. We played our tails off for three games. Sometimes on the road, things don’t go your way. I have no problem with the way our players have played. It’s really disappointing to lose a game in this fashion. It happens sometimes on the road in this league. We just have to pick ourselves back up off the mat and get ready to play this (upcoming) week.”
“We’re in a decent spot. It could be a lot better. We were one out away from being 7-2. It’s very difficult in this league. We’ll have a walk-off and get even or so. We had one last week. We have a lot of important games in front of us. Our kids are playing hard and playing the game the right way. I have no doubt that we will be on the other side of these type of games as we go forward.”
South Carolina returns home to face Furman on Tuesday night at Founders Park. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on SEC Network Plus and can be heard on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM “The Game.”