“I’m really proud, first of all and foremost, of how our team competed today,” coach John Pawlowski said. “I thought they battled all three games of this tournament. Today was another battle for us. I thought (Michael) Roth threw the ball extremely well. Unfortunately, we didn’t have many opportunities.”
South Carolina got on the board early, scoring all five runs in the first five innings. Joey Pankake led off the game with a double off of Cory Luckie (2-2) into the right field gap, inches shy of a diving Jay Gonzalez. Following an Evan Marzilli sacrifice bunt, which advanced Pankake to third, Christian Walker drove in the run on a sacrifice fly to center.
The Gamecocks extended its lead to 2-0 in the second inning as Adam Matthews scored on an Erik Payne RBI double through the left-center gap.
South Carolina drove in two more runs in the fourth inning, making it a 4-0 game. L.B. Dantzler led off with a base hit to second and moved to third on a Grayson Greiner single to right-center. Matthews followed with a RBI single to left field, driving in Dantzler and advancing Greiner to second. Right-hander Slade Smith struck out the next two batters, but a single by Chase Vergason loaded the bases. Dantzler scored the following at-bat off an RBI walk issued to Pankake.
South Carolina added to its lead in the fifth as Greiner doubled down the left field line with two outs and scored on a Matthews RBI single to right field, extending the Gamecock advantage to 5-0.
Auburn started to comeback in the bottom of the fifth, with a base hit by lead off hitter Justin Bryant. Patrick Savage doubled down the left field line, moving Bryant to third. Bryant would score on a one-out sacrifice fly to right by Dan Glevenyak. Caleb Bowen reached base on throwing error by second baseman Vergason and scored on a sacrifice fly from Creede Simpson in the sixth to cut the lead to 5-2.
The Tigers scored again in the eighth as Ryan Tella doubled with two outs and reached home on a RBI single from Justin Bryant.
“I really can’t say enough about how our team competed and gave us a chance to win there,” Pawlowski said. “Unfortunately we weren’t able to do anything with it.”
Auburn tallied nine hits on the night, with Tella, Bryant and Savage each going 2-for-4 at the plate.
South Carolina’s Roth allowed two runs on seven hits in 6 1/3. The win moves Roth to 6-1 on the season.
Luckie took the loss for the Tigers, allowing two runs on four hits in two innings.