Gamecocks complete sweep with 7-3 win

Tigers Fall For Third Time Sunday at South Carolina, 7-3

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Auburn pitching staff issued nine free passes — seven walks and two hit batsmen — four of which turned into South Carolina runs, as the Tigers lost 7-3 at No. 2 South Carolina on Sunday at Carolina Stadium.

The loss dropped Auburn’s record to 23-21, 9-12 SEC while South Carolina is now 35-8, 17-4.

“We were hanging around, kept the game close and ran a bunch of pitchers out there to stay within striking distance and we did that. Unfortunately we couldn’t come up with a big hit to generate some offense this afternoon,” Auburn head coach John Pawlowski said. “We gave them some free bases with walks and hit-by-pitch. The first four or five innings we were in damage control every inning. Against good teams it’s tough to do that over and over again.”

Combined with the other results from the SEC weekend, Auburn sits one game behind Alabama and Arkansas for first place in the SEC West with a series against Georgia at Plainsman Park looming this weekend.

Cory Luckie (1-2), Ethan Wallen and Sean Ray surrendered six of South Carolina’s seven runs in a combined 4 2/3 innings, allowing eight hits and seven walks while only recording two strikeouts.

Forrest Koumas moved to 5-0 for South Carolina with five innings of two-run ball while Matt Price threw the final two frames to pick up his 13th save of the season.

South Carolina took a 1-0 lead with a RBI groundout in the first off the bat of Brady Thomas (2-for-5, two RBIs) only to have Auburn tie it in the second on a Wes Gilmer (1-for-3, two RBIs) sacrifice fly to left.

South Carolina answered with two more in the second to go up 3-1 as Adrian Morales (3-for-5, run, RBI) singled and scored and Evan Marzilli walked and scored. Once again Auburn answered with a run as Casey McElroy (2-for-4, double, run, RBI) singled Justin Fradejas home to make it 3-2.

Robert Beary (2-for-2, walk, run) was hit by a pitch to and Steven Neff singled and scored in the fourth for South Carolina as it built a 5-2 lead. Marzilli was then hit by a pitch to start the fifth and he then scored on a Peter Mooney (2-for-2, walk, two RBIs) sac fly for the 6-2 lead.

Auburn got a run back in the sixth on Gilmer’s RBI single to score McElroy to cut it to 6-3.

South Carolina scored an unearned run off of Dillon Ortman in the eighth for the game’s final tally.

Auburn will not play a midweek game this week, taking time out for finals. Its next game will be Friday at 6 p.m. when it plays host to Georgia for the first of a three-game series.

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