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April 15, 2007

Box Score

Columbia, S.C. – Fourth ranked South Carolina belted out 16 hits including three-run homers from James Darnell and Travis Jones on its way to an 18-4 win over Auburn on Sunday afternoon in the rubber game of a three-game SEC series. Carolina is 28-8 and 9-6 in the SEC while the loss drops Auburn to 25-14 and 4-11 in conference play. The Gamecocks return to action with a pair of home midweek contests, hosting Wofford on Tuesday and Clemson on Wednesday. Both games are set for 7 pm ET.

Jones and Darnell each finished with two hits and four RBI apiece to lead the Gamecocks at the plate. Justin Smoak, Phil Disher and Cheyne Hurst also had two hits with Reese Havens tallying three as well. Smoak now owns a 17-game hitting streak. Auburn had just five hits on the afternoon.

Carolina reliever Jeff Jeffords came into the game in the fifth inning and earned a win to improve to 4-0 on the year. Jeffords pitched 3.1 scoreless innings and allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out four batters. Auburn starter Justin Bristow took the loss and is 1-4 this season. He went four innings and allowed seven runs, six earned, on five hits while striking out three and walking three.

The Gamecocks took a 5-0 lead in the second inning against Bristow. Harley Lail got things started for Carolina with a one-out RBI single to center that scored Cheyne Hurst and Reese Havens. Following a hit by pitch to Travis Jones, the Gamecocks would score three more runs on a homer to center field by James Darnell. It was his 11th of the year and second of the series.

Auburn cut into the Carolina lead in the fourth and fifth innings with a pair of runs against South Carolina starting pitcher Will Atwood in both frames. Josh Donaldson reached base on a dropped fly ball by Harley Lail in the fourth inning. That play was followed up by a two-run homer from Mike Bianucci, his 10th of the year for the Tigers. The Tigers scored two more runs in the fifth inning.

South Carolina struck though in the bottom of the fifth inning with seven runs. The Gamecocks first loaded the bases with the first three batters as James Darnell reached on a fielding error by third baseman Joseph Sanders, Justin Smoak singled to extend his hitting streak to 17 games and pinch hitter Steven Reinhold walked. With one out and the bases still loaded, Darnell scored the first run on a wild pitch issued by Auburn reliever Brett Butts. Smoak and Reinhold would then score on Phil Disher’s RBI single up the middle. The Gamecocks would score four more times with two outs in the inning as Reese Havens collected an RBI single and Travis Jones hit a three-run homer, his 10th of the season.

Carolina added four more runs in the sixth inning. Cheyne Hurst and Travis Jones each tallied RBI base hits. In Jones at-bat, the Gamecocks had the bases loaded and Auburn reliever Evan Crawford threw wide of first base to attempt to get Jones, allowing all three runners for the Gamecocks to score. South Carolina’s scoring finished with two runs in the eighth inning.

The Gamecocks batted .333 (37-for-111) in the three-game series with Cheyne Hurst 6-for-10 to lead the hitters. Havens and Jones each had five hits in the series as well. Jones and Darnell both homered twice against the Tigers.