Baseball Advances At SEC Tournament With 5-3 Win Over Auburn
May 24, 2012
HOOVER, Ala. - Second seeded South Carolina scored five runs in the first five innings and behind senior left-hander Michael Roth and junior right-hander Matt Price on the mound, the Gamecocks held on for a 5-3 win over 10th seeded Auburn on Thursday evening at the 2012 SEC Baseball Tournament. Eight of nine Gamecock starters had at least one hit with Adam Matthews 3-for-4 with two RBI to lead the way. The Gamecocks improve to 40-16 on the year, the 13th consecutive season with 40 or more wins for the program. Auburn drops to 31-28 on the year. South Carolina is back in action on Friday night against Florida. That game will start 30 minutes following the conclusion of the 4 p.m. ET game between LSU and Mississippi State. It will be televised live on CSS, Time Warner Cable channel 506 and 519 in Columbia and can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network from IMG College including flagship station 107.5 FM, "The Game."
Roth defeated Auburn for the second time this season and the second time in Hoover, as the Gamecock southpaw defeated the Tigers last year in the tournament. He went 6.1 innings and allowed two runs, one earned, on seven hits with no walks and five strikeouts. Price came on in relief and worked the final 2.2 innings allowing one run on two hits with no walks and four strikeouts. He earned his 10th save of the year and 40th of his career with the Garnet & Black. Price is one shy of the SEC record of 41 set by Joshua Fields of Georgia (2005-08).
South Carolina tallied 13 hits on the evening. Along with three hits from Matthews, the Gamecocks also received two-hit games from LB Dantzler, Grayson Greiner and Chase Vergason. Ryan Tella, Justin Bryant and Patrick Savage were each 2-for-4 to lead Auburn at the plate.
"(Our captains - Price, Roth, Matthews) did a great job of giving us a great opportunity to play tomorrow," said South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner. "We knew it was going to be a difficult game against Auburn. They are a team that has a great offense and can run the bases. I anticipated we would have our hands four with (Derek) Varnadore and (Justin) Bryant. I thought that they would do a good job against us and they did. They gave Auburn a chance to come back. They did a good job offensively getting on the board. Roth had a quality start and Price did a good job holding them at bay."
The Gamecocks broke ahead 1-0 in the top of the first inning. Joey Pankake led off the game with a double into the gap in right-center, just out of the reach of right fielder Jay Gonzalez, who tried to make a diving catch. After a sacrifice bunt by Evan Marzilli moved Pankake over to third, Christian Walker would drive Pankake in with a sacrifice fly to center. That lead increased to 2-0 in the second inning. Adam Matthews singled with one out and after a wild pitch advanced him into scoring position, he would score on Erik Payne's RBI double to the gap in left-center.
Carolina extended the advantage to 4-0 with two more runs in the fourth inning. LB Dantzler led off with a base hit and advanced to third on a single by Grayson Greiner to right-center. Matthews would drive in Dantzler with a RBI base hit to left field. After loading the bases with two outs, Greiner would score on a RBI walk issued to Pankake. South Carolina made it 5-0 win the fifth inning with both Greiner and Matthews factoring in again as Greiner doubled down the left field line with two outs and scored on Matthews RBI single to right field.
Roth worked four scoreless innings to start the game and had faced the minimum entering the bottom half of the fifth.
"The key today was Michael was good early," added Tanner. "His command was good. We swung the bat early. We got on the board. We bunted a guy over. We had a sacrifice fly. We got some hits and we went up 5-0. I knew they were going to come back and I knew they had a pretty good bullpen today. We just had to do our best to hang in there. We played well. We had our older guys in the right spots today."
Auburn would get on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth inning. Justin Bryant led off with a base hit and advanced to third base on Patrick Savage's double to left field. Bryant would score on a one-out sacrifice fly to right field by Dan Glevenyak. An unearned run for the Tigers in the sixth inning cut the Gamecock lead to three runs. Caleb Bowen reached base on a throwing error by Gamecock second baseman Chase Vergason. He would eventually score on a sacrifice fly from Creede Simpson.
Auburn scored once more in the eighth inning as Ryan Tella doubled with two outs and scored on Justin Bryant's RBI single. But that would be it for the Tigers as Price worked got out of the eighth with a flyout on the next batter and then hurled a perfect ninth inning to give the Gamecocks the victory.
Junior right-hander Colby Holmes (6-0, 2.91 ERA) is the probable starter for the Gamecocks on Friday night.