Founders Park – Columbia, SC
Friday, April 28th, 2023
Auburn started off the series strong from the jump, like the have in series openers this season, improving to 9-2 in game 1s. Freshman Chris Stanfield stole home in the 1st frame to break the ice. This was the first time that an Auburn Tiger has stolen home since the 2010 season. The Tigers pitching staff of Tommy Vail, Tanner Bauman and Will Cannon were able to control the Gamecock sluggers, holding them to 3 runs or less for just the 4th game this season (2nd in SEC play). Vail was key in the win for Auburn as he was able to contain this hard hitting Carolina offense, going 5IP, 4H, 2ER, 7K, 6BB on 96 pitches. Auburn’s Cole Foster blasted a 2-run blast (6th) in the 4th inning to give the Tigers the lead. They later capitalized on a sac fly from Ike Irish and 3 straight singles from Bobby Peirce, McMurray and Ware to make it 6-1. 5 of their first 6 runs came with 2 outs.
The Gamecocks Ace, Will Sanders, struggled later in this one. Sanders did not have his best stuff and the Tigers pounced all over and finished his night 6IP, 8H, 8ER, 4K, 2BB on 87 pitches. Sanders did not look his normal self. Tanner Bauman entered out of the bullpen first for the Tigers in the 6th and put up 2 shutdown innings, continuing to quiet the Gamecocks. Carolina was able to scratch across 3 runs in this game, one in the 1st, one in the 5th, and one in the 8th but could never string more of their hits together to push anymore across. But Auburn’s offense continued as they scored 2 in the 7th thanks to a double down the line from Irish and a single off the wall from Cooper McMurray to make it 8-2. Will Cannon fed off of his offenses energy and slam the door closed for the Tigers to secure the win.
- Cooper McMurray: 2-4, 2RBI, BB, K
- Chris Stanfield: 2-4, 3R, BB, K
- Cole Foster: 1-4, R, 2RBI, HR, 2K
STATS & NOTES:
- South Carolina retired Kip Bouknight’s jersey on the wall in left field next to those of Ray Tanner and Earl Bass.
- This was the Gamecocks 2nd loss at home this season.
- South Carolina was held to 3 runs or less for just the 4th time this season, 2nd in SEC play.
- This was only the 5th game in which the Gamecocks didn’t hit a home run.
Saturday, April 29th, 2023
Auburn followed up Game One with an even better Game Two, getting off to another & better jump right out of the gate. The Tigers scored 4 runs in the 1st frame and charged on from there as they clinched the series on the road vs #2 South Carolina, winning 9-5. The Tigers strung together 12 hits in the game, led by Cooper McMurray who had his 3rd multi-homer game of the season in this one. McMurray has been hot tallying 7 homers in as many games. Almost the entire Auburn lineup was involved as 5 players had a multi-hit game and 3 with a multi-RBI game. After a 4 run first, the Tigers followed up with 2 solo shots in the 2nd from Nate LaRue and Bobby Pierce to make it 6-0. Following suit of Friday’s Game One, the Tigers continued to score with 2 outs, scoring 5 of their first 6 runs.
Auburn’s starter Christian Herberholz was able to continue what Tommy Vail was able to do, contain the Gamecocks offense and limit damage. Herberholtz gave the team a chance by going 4IP, 3H, ER, 6K, 4BB on 92 pitches. With his pitch count so high, the Tigers turned to the pen and Chase Isabell early for relief. The Gamecocks were able to get to Isabell thanks to a 2-run double from Cole Messina to make it an 8-3 game. Auburn however, plated 2 runs of their own in the top half prior thanks to a McMurray blast off of the batters eye. The next inning, Auburn turned to Konner Copeland who was was able to go the distance for the long relief and pick up the win as well. Copeland retired 7 consecutive Carolina hitters in the 8th and 9th to end the game and secure a huge series win. He went 4IP, H, 2ER, 4K, 0BB after 56 pitches. McMurray continued to slug and piled on another run of insurance for him and the Tigers with a long homer into the trees in right center for his 2nd multi-home run game in the last 3 SEC contest.
- Cooper McMurray: 2-3, 3RBI, 2HR, 3R, 2BB
- Foster Cole: 2-4, 2RBI, R, 2K
- Cole Messina: 2-4, 4RBI, HR, R
STATES & NOTES:
- The Gamecocks drop their first series at home this season.
- Carolina has now lost 6 straight games to Auburn, dating back to 2019.
Sunday, April 30th, 2023
With their backs against the wall coming into Game 3, the Gamecocks looked to avoid the sweep and salvage one game of this series. Carolina did just that behind a late 3-run homer in the 7th inning from Will Tippett. Just like the first 2 games of this series, the scoring got started early and by Auburn let again, plating 4 in the 1st frame of the game. Bryson Ware and Cole Foster lead the way with back-to-back jacks in the 1st to jump out to a huge 4-0 lead. The Gamecocks would punch back in the bottom of the frame with 2 runs of their own, but not from the long ball. Dylan Brewer scored on a passed ball and Caleb Denny had an RBI single to center. Auburn responded too in the 2nd with a Nate LaRue homer to make it a 5-2 ballgame.
Both starters did not fare well. Matthew Becker got the start for the Gamecocks. After struggling early, he settled down with 3 scoreless frames. His final line was 5IP, 5H, 5ER, 8K, BB on 90 pitches. As for the Tigers, Will Cannon got the nod but had a rough day, only lasting 2.2IP, 3H, 2R, 4K, 3BB. Auburn would end up using 8 pitchers, 5 of which wouldn’t throw a complete inning. In the 4th, Michael Braswell came up clutch with a 2RBI single to make it a one run ballgame. Then in the 5th, Carson Hornung tied it on a sacrifice line out to right. But Auburn would get that run and the lead right back in the 6th thanks to another Ware homer to left. Eli Jones came out of the pen first and record 4 outs, finishing his day with 1.1IP, 2H, ER, 2K, BB. Chris Veach would be next and last 5 outs but picked up the win with a final line of 1.2IP, 3H, ER, K, 2BB. As previously stated, Tippett blasted a clutch 3-run home run in the 7th inning that would be the deciding factor in this one. Auburn came within one run in the 9th thanks to a Bobby Pierce homer but no further as Nick Proctor would come in and close the door and get the save.
- Bryson Ware: 3-5, 2HRs, 3RBI, 2R
- Will Tippett: 1-3, 3RBI, 2R, BB, K
- Caleb Denny: 4-5, RBI, R, K
- South Carolina earned their 500th career SEC victory.
- The Gamecocks have a 500-396-1 all-time record in conference play.