March 18, 2006
AUBURN, Ala. -
South Carolina scored three runs in the first inning and held the Auburn offense to just three hits as the #9 Gamecocks defeated the Tigers, 7-3, on Saturday afternoon at Plainsman Park.
South Carolina (17-2, 2-0 SEC) got to Auburn starter Brett Butts (2-4) early, scoring three runs on four hits in the top of the first. The Gamecocks wound up chasing Butts after 3.2 innings as the sophomore allowed six runs on nine hits with two strikeouts.
Andy Masten had his second consecutive solid outing in relief for the Tigers (10-12, 0-2 SEC) as the junior scattered five hits over 4.2 innings of work, allowing just a single run in the top of the seventh.
"Andy did a great job of coming in for the second time this week and keeping us in the game," AU Head Coach Tom Slater said. "I was real happy with the way Andy rolled for us through the middle and late part of the game."
Mike Bianucci blasted his fourth home run of the season when he took USC starter Mike Cisco's 2-2 offering and deposited it over the wall in left-center to lead off the fifth, bringing the score to 6-1 at the time.
The Tigers tacked on two more runs in the eighth as Cisco issued walks to Maines and Edwards to lead off the inning. Russell Dixon's one-out double down the leftfield line scored Maines. Edwards then scampered home on Josh Donaldson grounded out to short, bringing the Tigers to within four at 7-3.
Tyler Johnstone (1-for-4) extended his streak of games reaching base safely to 32 when he singled to lead off the bottom of the first.
Cisco (2-0) earned the win for the Gamecocks, surrendering all three AU runs on two hits while striking out eight.
The top three in the USC batting order did most of the damage as Cheyne Hurst (3-for-5, 2 R), Chris Brown (4-for-5, 2B, R, 2 RBI) and Neil Giesler (2-for-5, R, RBI) accounted for nine of South Carolina's 14 hits and four of USC's runs.
The two teams will play the final game of the series on Sunday at 1 p.m. CT. Going to the hill for the Tigers will be Fr. LHP Evan Crawford (1-3, 5.09 ERA) while USC sends Jr. LHP Forrest Beverly (4-0, 3.04 ERA) to the mound.