May 3, 2014
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The big inning got to the Auburn softball team Saturday as South Carolina scored five runs in the third inning and defeated the Tigers 7-4 at Beckham Field.
The win for the Gamecocks evened the series at 1-1 and dropped Auburn’s record to 38-15-1 on the year and 11-12 in conference play. The Tigers and Gamecocks will be back on the field for the rubber match Sunday at noon CST for the regular-season finale.
Sophomore Marcy Harper pitched all six innings in the circle for the Tigers, giving up her second-largest run total of the year on six Gamecock hits. The loss drops Harper’s record to 17-4 on the year.
Six hits were scattered, offensively for Auburn as freshman Madi Gipson came away with two RBI, her fifth multi-RBI game this season.
For the second-straight day, Auburn got on the board first, scoring in the second inning on a ground ball out to second base by Gipson with runners on second and third. It was her 16th RBI of the year and gave Auburn the first run of the game for the 34th time this year.
Auburn’s lead didn’t last long as the Gamecocks hit two homers off Harper in back-to-back style in the bottom of the third, one being a grand slam by Chelsea Hawkins. Harper let the first two runners of the inning get on, but managed to get two quick outs to follow and seemed to have regained control before the five runs crossed the plate to give USC the 5-1 lead.
The Tigers began to cut into that lead right away in the fourth as Gipson came through again with an RBI single to centerfield, her second RBI of the day, but it was Carolina, again, who answered back with two more runs in the fourth to take a 7-2 lead.
The Orange and Blue tried to mount another rally in the fifth inning, scoring two more, but were kept off the board in the remaining two frames.
Auburn and South Carolina will be back on the field on Sunday for the regular season finale at Beckham Field with a first pitch scheduled for noon CST. Brit Bowen will be back on the radio call and can be heard on AuburnTigers.com and locally on WEGL 91.1. Live stats will also be available on AuburnTigers.com.