Auburn Drops Series Finale, 10-4, At South Carolina
April 19, 2009
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Justin Dalles hit two home runs for South Carolina and finished the day with three RBI as Auburn fell at South Carolina, 10-4, in the rubber game of a three-game Southeastern Conference series on Sunday. Joseph Sanders and Ben Jones each homered for Auburn with Sanders driving in three runs to up his season total to a career-best 55.
"They had 12 hits and we gave them eight free passes by either a walks or hit batters," Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. "You give a good team 20 base runners in eight innings, and that's tough to overcome. We put ourselves in a tough spot by doing that and I think that was one of the biggest differences."
Taylor Thompson (2-3) hit the first batter he faced and South Carolina quickly took advantage of the free base runner as DeAngelo Mack sent his 11th home run of the season into the seats overlooking left field for a 2-0 lead.
Auburn (25-15, 8-10 SEC) answered with a single run in the top of the second as Casey McElroy drew a two-out walk and scored from second on Kevin Patterson's single to left after a Tony Caldwell single put two runners on. Justin Hargett drew another two-out walk to load the bases but Auburn was unable to capitalize on the situation as Trent Mummey lined the first pitch he saw to center to end the inning.
Joseph Sanders led off the third with his 18th home run of the season to knot the game at 2-2, knocking it clear over the Auburn bullpen in left-center. The home run tied him with Tim Hudson (1997) and Tim Lemons (1985) for seventh in Auburn single-season history and also gave him 27 for his career, two shy of breaking into the career top 10 for home runs.
A walk to Jackie Bradley, Jr., to lead off the fourth came back to haunt Thompson as again he allowed a two-run home run following the free base as this time Dalles took Thompson's pitch for a ride, sending his seventh home run of the season out to left.
Ben Jones brought Auburn back to within a run when he launched his seventh home run of the season to right with two down in the top of the fifth, making the score 4-3 South Carolina after four-and-a-half. The home run was the 84th of the season for the team, which is now just three homers shy of tying the school record of 87 set in 1998.
South Carolina (25-14, 9-9 SEC) scored three in the bottom of the fifth to go up 7-3 and knock Thompson out of the game. Thompson finished his day allowing six runs on four hits and three walks despite striking out five, one shy of his season high of six.
Merrifield drew a one-out walk to start the three-run bottom of the fifth and Mack followed with a liner back up the middle, ending Thompson's day. Scott Shuman relieved him and got the first hitter he faced in Nick Ebert to pop up to center on a great play by Mummey but then allowed a soft single that landed just fair inside the left field line that allowed Merrifield to score with the inning's first run. Shuman then walked Dallas and surrendered a two-run single to Andrew Crisp which finished the scoring in the inning, leaving Auburn trailing 7-3.
Auburn got a run back in the top of the seventh as Kevin Patterson walked and scored on Sanders' one-out RBI single back up the middle off of Curtis Johnson, who relieved starter Blake Cooper following a walk to Justin Hargett. Jones then ripped a pitch off of Johnson but the pitcher was able to snag the liner as it was going past him and double-up Hargett off second to end the inning with Auburn down 7-4.
Cooper (5-3) finished the day allowing four runs on seven hits and five walks, striking out five.
Dalles' second home run to lead off the seventh off Shuman was followed by the third hit batter of the game, ending Shuman's day after 1 2/3 innings. Zach Blatt entered and allowed a base hit and a walk before giving way to Ty Kelley. Kelly got a pair of outs on a liner and a sac fly but a Mack single capped the scoring, plating Scott Wingo.
Morris finished the day 3-for-4 with three singles for Auburn while Sanders was a triple shy of the cycle, finishing with three hits in four at bats.
Auburn returns to Plainsman Park for a midweek game against Samford on Tuesday night at 6pm before taking to the road for a second consecutive conference series, heading to Baton Rouge, La., for three games against No. 1 LSU beginning Friday at 7pm CT.
South Carolina 10, Auburn 4 (Apr 19, 2009 at Columbia, SC)
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