It was a situation Josh Reagan experienced time after time: runners on base in a close game. It’s a situation that repeated itself Sunday, as the Gamecocks were clinging to a two-run lead in Sunday’s rubber match against Auburn.
The last time he was in that situation, two weekends ago against Tennessee, he got out of it. Sunday was a different story.
Reagan gave up a walk-off, three-run homer in the ninth inning to pinch-hitter Conor Davis to give the Tigers a 6-5 victory and drop the series at Auburn for the first time since 1997. The last time the Tigers took the series over South Carolina in Columbia was 2015.
“I’m proud of my team. We played our tails off for three games. Sometimes on the road, things don’t go your way. I have no problem with the way our players have played,” head coach Chad Holbrook said in a statement. “It’s really disappointing to lose a game in this fashion. It happens sometimes on the road in this league. We just have to pick ourselves back up off the mat and get ready to play this (upcoming) week.”
Reagan picks up his first loss of the season, after pitching 2.2 innings and giving up three hits, all in the ninth inning.
The Gamecocks went ahead in the 7th inning with a three-run top of the frame, capped by a two-run home run from TJ Hopkins. It was Hopkins’s first hit of the weekend, and gave the visitors a two-run lead, which was short-lived.
Relief pitchers Andrew Mitchell and Calvin Coker would shutdown the Gamecocks the majority of the final three innings, with Coker getting credit for the win after pitching two no-hit innings. The only base runner he allowed was on a hit by pitch.
Auburn rallied from two runs down earlier in the game as well, getting two runs in the fourth inning after a RBI groundout and a RBI single to tie the game. The Tigers would take the lead in the sixth on a sac fly.
Adam Hill, who moved back to the Sunday role this weekend, put up five quality innings. He have up two runs (both earned) on five hits while striking out three batters. He gave way to Reed Scott, who gave up one run before Josh Reagan finished the game and pitched the final three innings.
Jonah Bride continues to swing a hot bat, going 3-for-4 Sunday with a double and a RBI. LT Tolbert was the only other Gamecock to register multiple hits, going 2-for-3 with a RBI.
“We’re in a decent spot. It could be a lot better. We were one out away from being 7-2. It’s very difficult in this league. We’ll have a walk-off and get even or so. We had one last week. We have a lot of important games in front of us,” Holbrook said. “Our kids are playing hard and playing the game the right way. I have no doubt that we will be on the other side of these type of games as we go forward.”
Up Next: The Gamecocks host Furman at 7 p.m. before taking on Vanderbilt in a three-game series that starts Thursday night.