The streak is still alive. Auburn has yet to drop a series this year, and the Tigers delivered on Sunday afternoon.
With two outs and two men on base, down by two runs, Auburn coach Butch Thompson called on freshman Conor Davis to pinch-hit in the bottom of the ninth.
He did not disappoint.
The Roswell-native crushed a walk-off, 3-run homer over the Monster in left to lift No.17 Auburn over the visiting Gamecocks by a score of 6-5. It was Davis’ first-career home run, and what a time to do it.
“I got that one hanger. I was nervous a little bit, big situation, but I was ready to go,” Davis said. “Right when he threw the pitch, I was like, ‘If I hit this, I’m going to get ahold of it.’ I knew.”
Auburn improves to 23-7 overall and ties an SEC-best record of 7-2, while South Carolina falls to 19-8 and 6-3 in conference play. The Tigers have opened the season with seven-straight series wins for the first time since 2003.
“It seems like going through the course of the year we keep having a new guy in the moment when they get the opportunity to do something special,” Thompson said. “I just think it’s powerful for us. It’s a teaching point for us that we can do things. We don’t have to rely on one person.”
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It was a roller-coaster game for the Tigers. After trailing 2-0 for the first three innings, Auburn rallied to even up the score with RBIs from Daniel Robert and Dylan Ingram in the bottom half of the 4th inning. Shortly after, Auburn took the lead thanks to the sacrifice fly by Robert, who recorded his second RBI of the day, pushing the score to 3-2 at the end of 6 innings.
The Gamecocks would not be behind for long however. After a fielder’s choice evened it up at 3-3, TJ Hopkins drove in two more runs with a bomb over the left-field wall, giving South Carolina a 5-3 lead in the top of the 7th.
“They threw a huge punch there,” Thompson said. “We’re not used to that with Andrew Mitchell. That’s the first runs he’s given up this year. I thought it stunned us for a little bit.”
The Tigers went down in order heading to the ninth, and it looked as if Auburn just didn’t have enough left in the tank to muster another comeback. After two flawless innings of no-hit relief, Josh Reagan allowed back-to-back singles by Jonah Todd and Daniel Robert to start of the bottom of the 9th. Thompson then called on Davis to pinch-hit, and the rest was history.
“I didn’t think my first home run would be like this. It’s nuts,” Davis said. “I was going around first and I saw Coach Bohannon just going nuts. Since he recruited me that was making me go even crazier and then Sis going nuts and everyone waiting at the plate. It was just unreal.”
Calvin Coker closed the game with two hitless innings to earn his second win of the year. Ryan Watson started and allowed one run on four hits in 2.0 innings pitched. Cole Lipscomb’s strong outing held South Carolina to a run on one hit in 4.0 innings, and gave the Tigers a chance to get back into the game. Lipscomb retired the final eight batters he faced before turning it over to Andrew Mitchell in the seventh.
The dramatic win matches Auburn’s 23-win total from a year ago, and sets the Tigers up only one game shy of tying their eight conference wins in 2016.
Auburn returns to action Tuesday night where they will face Georgia Tech at 6 p.m. CT at Plainsman Park, but do not return to SEC play until next weekend at Texas A&M.
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