South Carolina Rally Falls Short As Auburn Defeats Gamecocks 12-9
May 7, 2004
Auburn, Ala. - Sean Gamble went 3-for-4 with three doubles and two RBI and Clete Thomas was 3-for-5 with a triple and four RBI as 20th ranked Auburn defeated sixth ranked South Carolina 12-9 in the first of a three-game SEC baseball series. The loss dropped South Carolina to 32-13 and 11-11 in the SEC while the win improves Auburn to 30-17 and 10-12 in the SEC.
Auburn starting pitcher Josh Bell worked six 2/3 innings to pick up the win. He is 3-2 on the year. Bell allowed four runs on five hits with four strikeouts and four walks. South Carolina starting pitcher Aaron Rawl took the loss and fell to 9-3 on the year. Rawl pitched three innings and allowed nine runs on 10 hits with two walks allowed. It was Rawl's shortest outing of his career in 19 starts.
Auburn outhit the Gamecocks 16-11 with eight extra base hits on the night. Gamble and Thomas led the way with three hits apiece with Tug Hulett, J.T. Williamson and Ben Maitland adding two hits. Michael Campbell was 2-for-4 with his 13th HR and two RBI and Davy Gregg was 2-for-4 to lead the way for USC at the plate.
South Carolina opened up a 1-0 lead in the second inning on a two-out RBI single from Davy Gregg. Steven Tolleson started off the inning with a walk and advanced to second on a single to right field by Brendan Winn. With a 3-2 count, Gregg laced a single up the middle to score Tolleson and give USC a one-run cushion.
The lead would be short-lived though as Auburn would score five in the bottom half of the frame as the Tigers batted around and put together five hits off Rawl. Bell helped himself out with a leadoff single and advanced to third on a double from Sean Gamble. A RBI fielder's choice from Mike Hyntka scored Bell, and RBI singles from Derek Sain and J.T. Williamson scored Gamble and Hyntka. The Tigers completed the scoring with a RBI sacrifice fly from Chuck Jeroloman and a two-out RBI single by Clete Thomas. The Tigers would add a run in the third inning as Gamble doubled and scored on a RBI single from Hyntka.
Auburn would knock Rawl out of the game in the fourth inning and put three more runs across to increase the lead to 9-1. Thomas had a RBI triple to score two runs and Gamble hit his third double of the game off USC reliever Jason Fletcher scoring Thomas.
Carolina cut the deficit to five runs in the seventh inning on two homers from Kevin Melillo and Michael Campbell. After a walk to Ryan Mahoney, Melillo launched his seventh homer of the season to right field. It is his second since coming back from a wrist injury three weeks ago. Campbell hit his 13th of the year to knock out Auburn starter Josh Bell. South Carolina owns 73 home runs on the season with Campbell, Landon Powell and Brendan Winn leading the sqaud with 13 apiece.
Auburn would score three more runs in the seventh and eighth innings to go up 12-4 before Carolina stormed back with five in the ninth inning to cut the deficit to three runs. South Carolina strung together five hits including RBI hits from Bryan Triplett, Campbell, Landon Powell and Tolleson. Auburn reliever Chris Dennis entered the game with Tolleson on second base and was able to get Steve Pearce and Brendan Winn to strike out to stop the Carolina rally and preserve the Auburn win. The save for Dennis was his first of the year.
South Carolina and Auburn meet in the second game of the series on Saturday evening at 7:30 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on CSS-TV.