Auburn Takes Series from South Carolina on Walk-off Home Run by Davis
Bo Decker (35) gives Freshman Conor Davis (24) a "gatorade bath" following his walk-off home run in Sunday's 6-5 win over South Carolina. (Photo: Auburn Athletics/Dakota Sumpter)
After being shutout in Saturday’s game by #6 South Carolina, the #17 Auburn Tigers sealed the series on a pinch-hit two-run walk-off home run off the bat of Conor Davis, downing the Gamecocks 6-5, securing Auburn’s third consecutive SEC series win to open the season. Despite losing a lead in the seventh inning after going ahead by a run in the bottom half of the previous inning, Auburn Head Coach Butch Thompson was not ready to give up in the series-clinching game. “I was just walking behind the dugout and just said, “hang on.” Down 5-3 with two outs in the ninth inning, freshman Conor Davis entered the on-deck circle for Bowen McGuffin with two on. On the 2-1 count, Davis belted a no-doubter over the left field wall off of South Carolina reliever Josh Reagan that scored Daniel Robert and Luke Jarvis, giving Auburn their first walk-off home run win since the season opener over Maine in 2013. “(Coach Doug Sisson) came to me in the eighth inning and just said “be ready to hit,”” said Davis on the game plan to send him to the plate late in the game. “I talked to a couple of guys who faced Josh (Reagan). They were talking about how he either hangs a curveball or he throws it right in the dirt. I got that one hanger.” The homerun was the first of the freshman’s career, and the stage could not have been bigger. “I didn’t think my first home run would be like this. I was going around first and I saw Coach Bohannon going nuts. With (Sisson) going nuts, and everyone waiting at the plate. It was just unreal.” Auburn pitched by committee in Sunday’s rubber match with South Carolina, using four pitchers in the win. Freshman Ryan Watson started the game after it was revealed Saturday night that Keegan Thompson, who missed Friday’s start due to injury, would not be available for a makeup start. After a perfect first, Watson allowed a run on four hits before leaving the bases loaded to end the 2nd inning. Cole Lipscomb would enter the game for Auburn in the third inning and would go on to pitch four innings, tying his season-high for longest outing. In four innings, Lipscomb allowed an earned run on one hit while striking out three and walking one. The lone run came in the 4th inning on a sacrifice fly by LT Tolbert that scored Jacob Olson. The Auburn bats put Lipscomb in a position to win the game by chipping away the Gamecock lead. The Tigers tied the game at 2 in the bottom half of the fourth inning on a Daniel Robert groundout and a RBI single by Dylan Ingram. Robert would move the Tigers ahead 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning on a sacrifice fly that scored Jay Estes. The lead was short-lived, as the Gamecocks would answer in the next half inning. Andrew Mitchell entered the game in relief of Lipscomb and quickly allowed two hits. Madison Stokes would reach in the next at-bat via fielder’s choice, which allowed Jonah Bride to score, tying the game at 3. South Carolina regained the lead in the next at-bat when TJ Hopkins cleared the bases with a 2-run home run over the left field monster. Andrew Mitchell finished the inning, allowing three runs on three hits. Calvin Coker earned his second win of the season by pitching the final two innings for Auburn, allowing one baserunner and zero runs. The series win over South Carolina is Auburn’s first over the Gamecocks at Plainsman Park since 1996. The series was also one of the most attended in Plainsman Park history, as 11, 914 fans paid to watch the series, the most in a three-game weekend since 2003. The win also gives Auburn 23 on the year, which ties last season’s win mark with 26 games remaining. Auburn moves to 23-7, 7-2 in SEC play. Next up for the Tigers is a mid-week tilt with rival Georgia Tech at Plainsman Park Tuesday at 6 P.M.