After having all week to sit around with the bad taste of losing a series to Tennessee in our mouths, the Gamecocks rewarded us by routing Auburn.
The Tigers were first on the board, scoring their only run of the game in the third inning. With two outs, Anfernee Grier singled, advanced on a throwing error, and came home on an RBI single from Daniel Robert.
South Carolina tied things up in the bottom of the inning, though. Logan Koch led off with a single, Max Schrock doubled with two outs, Kyle Martin walked to load the bases, and Elliott Caldwell came through with an RBI single.
The Gamecocks added two more runs in the fifth inning. Jordan Gore singled to lead off, though he was out when Gene Cone hit into a fielder's choice. With two outs, Martin went yard to make it 3-1.
Two more South Carolina runs came in the seventh inning, putting the home team on top 5-1. Gore walked, Schrock singled with one out, and Martin contributed an RBI sac fly to get Gore home. Caldwell followed with an RBI triple to score Schrock.
The Gamecocks broke things wide open in the eighth inning, scoring five runs. DC Arendas led off with a walk and advanced on a Connor Bright sac bunt, then came home on an RBI base hit from Koch. Gore walked, but was then out when Cone hit into another fielder's choice. Cone went on to steal second, Schrock walked, and Martin homered again, this time belting a GRAND SLAM.
Starter Jack Wynkoop had a solid outing, working eight innings and giving up eight hits but just one run. He didn't walk any batters and struck out 10. Wynkoop earned the win and is now 7-4. Reed Scott pitched the final inning.
Considering South Carolina's postseason hopes are hanging by the thinnest thread, this win was pretty crucial. It was also pretty good, because Auburn is a pretty good team. This is only the first game of the series, and given how things have gone this season, it's nowhere near a given that this kind of performance will happen again this weekend, but it was nice to see all the same.
Speaking of the way things have gone this season, I can't imagine this is really what Martin envisioned when he decided to come back for his senior season. He's been so key to this team, though, and it's great to see him having such a successful season, even if the team overall is struggling.
The Gamecocks improve to 27-19 overall and 10-12 in the SEC, while Auburn drops to 30-17 overall and 10-12 in conference play. They'll meet again at Carolina Stadium on Saturday, with first pitch scheduled for 3:30 p.m.