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    South Carolina Moves Past Auburn

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    2012 SEC Baseball Tournament
    Game 11 - South Carolina 5, Auburn 3

    Box Score
    Video Highlights

    HOOVER, Ala. -- Second seeded South Carolina scored five runs in the first five innings and behind senior left-hander Michael Roth and junior right-hander Matt Price on the mound, the Gamecocks held on for a 5-3 win over 10th seeded Auburn on Thursday evening at the 2012 SEC Baseball Tournament.  Eight of nine Gamecock starters had at least one hit with Adam Matthews 3-for-4 with two RBI to lead the way.  The Gamecocks improve to 40-16 on the year, the 13th consecutive season with 40 or more wins for the program. 

    Auburn drops to 31-28 on the year.  South Carolina is back in action on Friday night against the loser of Thursday night’s Florida-Vanderbilt contest.  That game will start 30 minutes following the conclusion of the 4 p.m. ET game between LSU and Mississippi State.  It will be televised live on CSS, Time Warner Cable channel 506 and 519 in Columbia and can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network from IMG College including flagship station 107.5 FM, “The Game.”

    Roth defeated Auburn for the second time this season and the second time in Hoover, as the Gamecock southpaw defeated the Tigers last year in the tournament.  He went 6.1 innings and allowed two runs, one earned, on seven hits with no walks and five strikeouts. Price came on in relief and worked the final 2.2 innings allowing one run on two hits with no walks and four strikeouts.  He earned his 10th save of the year and 40th of his career with the Garnet & Black.  Price is one shy of the SEC record of 41 set by Joshua Fields of Georgia (2005-08).

    South Carolina tallied 13 hits on the evening.  Along with three hits from Matthews, the Gamecocks also received two-hit games from LB Dantzler, Grayson Greiner and Chase Vergason.  Ryan Tella, Justin Bryant and Patrick Savage were each 2-for-4 to lead Auburn at the plate.

    “(Our captains - Price, Roth, Matthews) did a great job of giving us a great opportunity to play tomorrow,” said South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner.  “We knew it was going to be a difficult game against Auburn.  They are a team that has a great offense and can run the bases.  I anticipated we would have our hands four with (Derek) Varnadore and (Justin) Bryant.  I thought that they would do a good job against us and they did.  They gave Auburn a chance to come back.  They did a good job offensively getting on the board.  Roth had a quality start and Price did a good job holding them at bay.”

    The Gamecocks broke ahead 1-0 in the top of the first inning.  Joey Pankake led off the game with a double into the gap in right-center, just out of the reach of right fielder Jay Gonzalez, who tried to make a diving catch.  After a sacrifice bunt by Evan Marzilli moved Pankake over to third, Christian Walker would drive Pankake in with a sacrifice fly to center.  That lead increased to 2-0 in the second inning.  Adam Matthews singled with one out and after a wild pitch advanced him into scoring position, he would score on Erik Payne’s RBI double to the gap in left-center.

    Carolina extended the advantage to 4-0 with two more runs in the fourth inning.  LB Dantzler led off with a base hit and advanced to third on a single by Grayson Greiner to right-center.  Matthews would drive in Dantzler with a RBI base hit to left field.  After loading the bases with two outs, Greiner would score on a RBI walk issued to Pankake. South Carolina made it 5-0 win the fifth inning with both Greiner and Matthews factoring in again as Greiner doubled down the left field line with two outs and scored on Matthews RBI single to right field.

    Roth worked four scoreless innings to start the game and had faced the minimum entering the bottom half of the fifth.

    “The key today was Michael was good early,” added Tanner.  “His command was good.  We swung the bat early.  We got on the board.  We bunted a guy over.  We had a sacrifice fly.  We got some hits and we went up 5-0.  I knew they were going to come back and I knew they had a pretty good bullpen today.  We just had to do our best to hang in there.  We played well.  We had our older guys in the right spots today.”

    Auburn would get on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth inning.  Justin Bryant led off with a base hit and advanced to third base on Patrick Savage’s double to left field.  Bryant would score on a one-out sacrifice fly to right field by Dan Glevenyak.  An unearned run for the Tigers in the sixth inning cut the Gamecock lead to three runs.  Caleb Bowen reached base on a throwing error by Gamecock second baseman Chase Vergason.  He would eventually score on a sacrifice fly from Creede Simpson.

    Auburn scored once more in the eighth inning as Ryan Tella doubled with two outs and scored on Justin Bryant’s RBI single.   But that would be it for the Tigers as Price worked got out of the eighth with a flyout on the next batter and then hurled a perfect ninth inning to give the Gamecocks the victory.

    Full Recap Coming Soon...

    2012 SEC Baseball Tournament
    Post-Game Notes
    Regions Park • Hoover, Ala.

    Game 11 • Thursday, May 24
    (2) South Carolina 5, (10) Auburn 3

    •    South Carolina improves to 40-16 on the season while Auburn falls to 31-28. The Gamecocks move on to play the loser of Florida/Vanderbilt tomorrow afternoon following the LSU/Mississippi State at 3 p.m. Auburn is eliminated from the SEC Tournament.
    •    South Carolina hit four doubles in the game, which matches or surpasses all other team total doubles that they have recorded so far in the SEC Tournament. It is fourth time this season the Gamecocks have hit four or more doubles in a game.
    •    P Michael Roth of the Gamecocks picked up his sixth win of the season and now has 20 wins in the last two seasons for South Carolina.
    •    With a double to lead the game off, South Carolina SS Joey Pankake has now reached safely in 16 consecutive games. It was his team-leading 14th double this year.
    •    South Carolina 1B Christian Walker drove a sacrifice fly to dead center to earn his 50th RBI on the season to move him into a tie for third in the SEC. Walker then roped his second triple of the season in the seventh to extend his reached base safely streak to 13 games.
    •    Auburn OF Jay Gonzalez has now reached base in 14 straight games after an infield single in the first inning.
    •    RF Adam Matthews of the Gamecocks singled in the first and scored before driving in two RBI singles in the fourth and fifth to pick up 18th and 19th RBI of the season. It is his 11th multi-hit game, third three hit game, and third multi-RBI game of the year.
    •    South Carolina 2B Chase Vergason started the third inning with a double before coming back up in the fourth with a single that hit off of second base umpire Trey Maners. For Vergason, it’s his fifth multi-hit game of the season.
    •    South Carolina C Grayson Greiner got his 11th multi-hit game after singling in the fourth and doubling in the fifth.
    •    Auburn CF Ryan Tella’s single in the sixth inning was his 84th hit of the season, which keeps him in third  place overall for total hits in the SEC. He picked up hit No. 85 on a double down the right field line for his  team leading 29th multi-hit game of the year.
    •    1B Michael Savage of Auburn came through with a double in the fifth and a single in the seventh for his sixth multi-hit game and his second straight multi-hit game after going 2-for-3 last night against Georgia.
    •    Gamecock 3B LB Dantzler picked up his 15th multi-hit game with singles in the seventh and ninth.
    •    The Gamecocks had a hit every inning except the sixth. In four games, South Carolina has 42 hits against the Auburn Tigers, including 13 today.

    South Carolina Head Coach Ray Tanner
    Opening statement…
    “First of all I would like to recognize our senior citizen cast up here with me. These guys [Price, Roth, Matthews] did a great job giving us a great opportunity to play tomorrow. We knew it was going to be a difficult game against Auburn. They are a team that has a great offense and can run the bases. I anticipated we would have our hands full with [Derek] Varnadore and [Justin] Bryant. I thought that they would do a good chance against us and they did. They gave Auburn a chance to come back. They did a good job offensively getting on the board. [Michael] Roth had a quality start and [Matt] Price did a good job holding them at bay.”

    On Michael Roth’s pitching performance…
    “The key today was Michael [Roth] was good early. His command was good. We swung the bat early. We got on the board. We bunted a guy over. We had a sacrifice fly. We pitched a guy over in the second. We left a guy out there with another opportunity. We got some hits and went up five to nothing. I knew they were going to come back, and I knew that they had a pretty good bullpen today. We just had to do our best to hang in there. We had some scoring opportunities late. They did a good job on the mound to keep us from scoring. We played well. We had our older guys in the right spots today.”

    Matt Price (Jr., P)
    On coming into the game in a tough pitching situation…
    “Coming into that situation you want to strike the guy out, but you also want to control the damage. I had a runner on second and third with one out. I ended up striking the guy out. ”

    Michael Roth (Sr., P)
    On his pitching performance today…
    “I felt like I was really hitting spots pretty well. I had pretty good fastball command. For me that is crucial in order to get some outs. I felt like I was steady the whole way. They did a good job and made some adjustments.

    Adam Mathews (Sr., RF)
    On moving forward in the tournament…
    “We just want to stay positive and get on the board. Take each at bat one at a time. Obviously we don’t want to go home, but we are not putting too much pressure on ourselves. We are just trying to stay positive and have good quality at bats.”

    Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski
    Opening statement:
    “I’m really proud, first of all and foremost, of how our team competed today. 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. He did a great job. I really can’t say enough about how our team competed and gave us a chance to win there. Unfortunately we weren’t able to do anything with it.”

    On the season as a whole and looking for an NCAA Tournament bid…
    “I really don’t know. I think our team has competed well all year. There’s been no quit in this team, and they battled hard. I really don’t know what transpired today or what will hold true. I know we have a good club, and I know that our team has played well, and certainly a team that is competitive as can be. If it’s meant to be, it is, but I think our team certainly is a good quality baseball team.”

    On the last few innings of the game and having missed opportunities to score runs…
    “I thought we had some chances there at the end. We had the one situation where we had hoped that we could get a situation for Cullen Wacker, one of our best guys on the bench, and the situation merited it. Just unfortunately, it didn’t work out for us. I thought we had a couple of chances there late in the game.”

    Justin Bryant (Sr., DH)
    On the season as a whole and looking for an NCAA Tournament bid…
    “It’s hard to put the whole season into a couple words because we’ve done so much, and we’ve been through ups and downs as a team. That’s what you go through. It just makes you closer, and we’ve definitely had our ups and downs. It’s been a good ride, and I’m hoping we get a bid.”

    Derek Varnadore (Sr., P)
    On the season as a whole and looking for an NCAA Tournament bid…
     “It’s definitely not the season we were planning for back in January. I think we’ve come along, and we’ve been challenged along the way. I’d really like to see this team in a regional. I think we can go a long way in that kind of format.”