Tigers Shutout By No. 14 Gamecocks, 2-0
March 27, 2010
AUBURN, Ala. - Auburn pounded out 11 hits and held South Carolina to just five but the Tigers could not push a run across as they were shutout at home by No. 14 South Carolina, 2-0, on Saturday afternoon at Plainsman Park.
Cole Nelson (4-1) was nearly flawless for Auburn (16-7, 3-2 SEC) on the mound, scattering four hits over a season-long 7 2/3 innings while not issuing a walk for the second time this season. The southpaw retired the first nine hitter he faced before a Whit Merrifield leadoff single in the fourth ended the string.
"It was a tough game to lose. It was really close and we had our chances the whole way," Nelson said. "With this offense you know you are going to get a lot of hits but it just didn't come together today."
Nelson continually worked his way through the South Carolina order with little difficulty, getting a total of 11 groundball outs during his stint before running into trouble in the top of the eighth.
After hitting the leadoff hitter, Adam Matthews, Nelson allowed a wind-aided single to Bobby Haney down the left-field line and a double to left-center by Scott Wingo that scored what turned out to be the game-winning run in Matthews. South Carolina would have had more but Casey McElroy's relay throw from Creede Simpson in center to Ryan Jenkins at home got Haney trying to score from first to keep it a one-run game.
South Carolina (19-4, 5-0 SEC) tacked on an insurance run of the unearned variety in the ninth as Brady Thomas reached on a fielder's choice, stole second and went to third on Jenkins' throw to second trying to get him. Kyle Enders' single over the drawn-in infield brought Thomas home with the game's only other run.
While Nelson was keeping the South Carolina bats at bay, Sam Dyson was doing the same thing to the Auburn hitters in key situations. Despite surrendering 10 hits in seven innings, Dyson got the key outs when he needed to as Auburn left 10 of their 12 runners on during the first seven innings, leaving the bases loaded in both the third and seventh innings.
"To beat the elite teams you have to be able to execute and do the little things. We had our opportunities but Dyson made some great pitches in big situations and we weren't able to scratch anything today," Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said.
Dyson finished the afternoon with nine strike outs while not issuing a walk to move to 2-0 on the season.
Matt Price earned his second save of the season for South Carolina, entering with men on first and second and two outs in the ninth. He struck out Jenkins to end the inning and then sat the top of the Auburn down in order in the ninth.
The shutout was the first by a visiting team at Plainsman Park since South Alabama claimed a 3-0 win on March 1, 2005, a span of 166 home games for Auburn.
Auburn will try to salvage the final game of the series at 1pm CT on Sunday when it sends Jr. LHP Grant Dayton (2-1, 5.56) to the mound. South Carolina is countering with Fr. LHP Tyler Webb (1-1, 2.53).
South Carolina 2, Auburn 0 (Mar 27, 2010 at Auburn, AL)
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