From staff reports | Photo courtesy of SC Athletics
No. 16 South Carolina tied the game in the top of the seventh inning but dropped a heartbreaking 5-4 series opener at No. 12 Auburn on Friday at Jane B. Moore Field. Kennedy Clark plated two in the seventh with a single but a South Carolina error and Tiger single in the bottom seventh helped Auburn secure the walk-off win.
South Carolina fought back from a four-run deficit through four innings and out-hit its opponent 11-6. But it wasn’t enough, as Auburn improved to 9-4 in SEC play while the Gamecocks moved to 5-10.
SC loaded the bases in the top of the seventh with three straight hits off the bat of freshmen at the bottom of the lineup on its way to tying the game three batters later.
SEC Pitcher of the Week Dixie Raley (10-3) went the distance in the circle for the Gamecocks. She had five strikeouts and allowed six hits.
South Carolina (29-12, 5-10 SEC) struggled in the field in the first as two errors and a trio of hits helped Auburn take a 3-0 lead through one. The Tigers later extend the lead to 4-0 with a solo homer in the bottom of the third.
From there, the Gamecocks found some momentum after the two squads traded scoreless frames in the fourth.
Jordan Fabian, a freshman, blasted her first-career home run in the top of the fifth to score two and cut the deficit in half at 4-2 heading to the sixth. After a scoreless sixth, South Carolina continued to put pressure on the Tigers as it looked to tie the contest.
A trio of hits off the bats of freshmen Madison Owens, Karly Heath and Fabian started the seventh and loaded the bases with no outs heading to the top of the lineup. Clark then sent a ball to the outfield to score two and tie things at 4-4 heading to the bottom frame.
SEC Pitcher of the Week
The Gamecocks’ third error of the night started the Auburn seventh off with a runner on third with no outs before the Tigers earned the 5-4 walk-off victory in the series opener the next at bat.
The Gamecocks had 11 hits on the night as Fabian posted her first career 3-for-3 night at the plate with two RBI. Clark went 2-for-4 with two RBI while Mackenzie Boesel went 2-for-4, as well. Cayla Drotar, Lauren Stewart and Owens also added hits.
Fabian is the 12th Gamecock with a home run this season. It was the team’s 51st of the year. The freshman went 3 for 3, marking her first career three-hit game. She became the seventh South Carolina hitter with three or more hits in a game this season.
Mackenzie Boesel recorded two hits, improving her current hit streak to nine games. That mark is just one off from trying her season high. She has also recorded a hit in seven-consecutive SEC games. Boesel and Clark have reached base in 10-straight games overall.
In the top of the seventh, South Carolina had three-straight freshmen (Madison Owens, Karly Heath and Jordan Fabian) record hits, marking the first time this year that first-year players have recorded three-consecutive hits in a game.
South Carolina moved to 0-5 in SEC Friday night games.