Down a run entering the ninth inning, sixth ranked South Carolina stormed back with a pair of runs on RBI hits from freshmen Gene Cone and Jordan Gore to defeat Auburn 3-2 on Saturday in game two of a doubleheader at Plainsman Park. The Gamecocks are 29-10 and 9-8 in the SEC with Auburn 22-18 and 7-10 in league play. The rubber game of the series is scheduled for Sunday at 2 p.m. ET. It will be televised live on CSS and streamed on ESPN3.
The Gamecocks escaped a jam in the bottom of the eighth to set up the ninth inning heroics. With the bases loaded and no outs, right-hander Cody Mincey fought back from a 3-0 count against Ryan Tella to strike him out for the first out of the inning. A strikeout of Dan Glevenyak followed and Mincey ended the threat with pinch hitter Daniel Robert lining out to Gore at second base. With momentum, the Gamecocks battled as the ninth inning opened with a leadoff single by Grayson Greiner and a one-out walk to Elliot Caldwell. After pinch-runner Patrick Harrington replaced Greiner, the Gamecocks tied the game at 2-2 on a RBI double to right field off the bat of Cone. Auburn intentionally walked Tanner English that set the stage for Gore who lined a RBI single into left field to give the Gamecocks a one-run lead. Junior right-hander Joel Seddon came in and pitched a perfect ninth to seal the Gamecock victory.
Mincey earned the win in relief and is now 3-0 on the year with a scoreless inning of work. Seddon raised his save total to 10 on the year. Auburn reliever Jay Wade suffered the loss and is now 3-2 for the season. He allowed two runs on two hits in 0.1 innings with a walk and a strikeout.
“Sometimes one win is more important than one win, this was probably one of those,” said South Carolina head coach Chad Holbrook. “There were some anxious moments. We found a way to win the game. It was extremely important to stem the tide of what we were kind of going through. We would fight, scratch to make something happen and something bad would happen and we wouldn’t score a run. We found a way to win and can take a deep breath and come back to work tomorrow with maybe not so much pressure on ourselves and try to win a series on the road.”
Both starting pitchers pitched well for both teams. Carolina left-hander Jack Wynkoop worked seven innings and allowed two runs, both unearned, on eight hits. Auburn freshman right-hander Keegan Thompson allowed one run on eight hits in eight innings of work.
Auburn took advantage of a pair of errors to go ahead 2-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning. Damon Haecker reached base to open the frame as a throw by Gamecock shortstop DC Arendas went high and wide of first base. With one out Damek Tomscha reached as a hard grounder could not be corralled by Arendas. With runners on the corners and two outs, Ryan Tella set down a perfect drag bunt between first and the mound for a base hit to score Haecker. The Tigers then scored their second run on a RBI single off the bat of Dan Glevenyak as Tomscha just beat the throw by left fielder Elliott Caldwell.
The Gamecocks would get on the scoreboard in the top of the seventh inning. Greiner led off with a single and Connor Bright followed with a base hit to give Carolina a pair of runners. After a sacrifice bunt, Greiner would score on Cone’s first RBI hit of the game, a single to left field.
Cone had a career day going 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI, both career-highs. Greiner went 3-for-4 as well. Ebert and Tomscha both had two hits to lead Auburn at the plate.
“It was big for us as freshmen to come in and to make some impact in the game,” said Cone. “It feels nice to be out there and string some good at bats out there and help us.”
Story by USC Sports Information