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May 27, 2010

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HOOVER, Ala. – Trent Mummey’s two-run single with the bases loaded in the top of the 12th inning lifted Auburn to a 3-1 victory over South Carolina eliminating the Gamecocks from the 2010 SEC Tournament. Auburn improves to 40-18 for the season while the loss drops Carolina to 43-15 for the year. South Carolina now awaits word on the 64-team field announcement for the 2010 NCAA Tournament. Host site selections will be announced on Sunday at approximately 3:30 p.m. ET with the field announcement on Monday at 12:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Both pitching staffs kept each other off the scoreboard for most the afternoon with only solo home runs from Creede Simpson of Auburn and Brady Thomas of South Carolina holding up. It would be Auburn that would scratch across a couple of runs in the top of the 12th. With one out and Casey McElroy on first base, Justin Hargett laced a sharp grounder to second base. On the play, Gamecock second baseman Scott Wingo looked to turn a double play but mishandled the ball after he fielded it to give the Tigers a pair of runners. A walk to Justin Fradejas followed to load the bases for Auburn. With the count full, Mummey knocked a RBI base hit up the middle scoring both McElroy and Hargett and giving Auburn the 3-1 lead.

After allowing a leadoff walk to Whit Merrifield, Auburn reliever Austin Hubbard set the next three Gamecock batters down to seal the Tigers win. Hubbard worked 4.2 scoreless innings of relief and allowed just two hits and three walks. He struck out five batters. He is now 5-2 for the year. South Carolina reliever Matt Price was solid despite the loss. He allowed two runs, one earned, on three hits in 3.1 innings with five strikeouts and two walks. He is now 3-1 on the year.

Auburn had 11 hits to seven for the Gamecocks. Mummey, Hunter Morris and Ryan Jenkins had two hits apiece for Auburn. Jackie Bradley Jr. extended his season-high hitting streak to 11 games with a 3-for-6 day at the plate. Whit Merrifield also went 2-for-4 for the Gamecocks.

Creede Simpson would put Auburn ahead 1-0 in the top of the fourth inning. A replacement in left field for the injured Brian Fletcher earlier in the game, Simpson crushed a 3-1 pitch from South Carolina starter Blake Cooper over the left field wall to put the Tigers in front. It would remain that way until the bottom of the seventh inning when Brady Thomas tied the game at 1-1 with his eighth home run of the year. On a 0-1 pitch from Auburn starter Grant Dayton, Thomas crushed a homer to right field tying the game up. It marked Thomas’ second home run in his career at the SEC Tournament.

Both starting pitchers had quality outings. Cooper allowed one run on eight hits in 7.2 innings with six strikeouts and no walks. Dayton also went 7.1 innings and allowed one run on five hits with four strikeouts and two walks.

The Gamecocks had a couple of chances to score the winning run in the late innings but could not connect with the RBI hit. In the 10th inning, the Gamecocks loaded the bases on a one-out walk by Merrifield, a one-out single by Bradley and an intentional walk to Jeffery Jones. Hubbard escaped the jam with a ground out that he fielded cleanly off the bat of Adrian Morales. South Carolina also had the potential winning run in scoring position in the bottom of the 11th inning after a single by Evan Marzilli and a wild pitch. Hubbard again battled and got the next three outs to keep Auburn in the game.