Auburn falls to South Carolina in SEC Tourney Opener

HOOVER, Ala. – The Auburn baseball team pounced on South Carolina ace Michael Roth for three runs in the first inning but was held to just three hits the rest of the way, falling 7-3 to the nation's top-ranked team in the first round of the 2011 SEC Tournament at Regions Park on Wednesday. The loss drops Auburn's overall record to 29-28 and puts the team in a must-win situation on Thursday in order to be post-season eligible.

"I thought we got off to a good start in the first inning and then after the first inning we never had any opportunities. I thought Roth was outstanding," Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. "Our guys understand the magnitude of tomorrow and they know we have to go out and play hard if we want to stick around for another day."

Jon Luke Jacobs (1-5) took the loss for Auburn as South Carolina (45-12) tied the game with three runs in the third on four hits and took the lead in the fourth with a single run, ending Jacobs day after he allowed four runs on five hits and a walk in three innings.

Auburn, which finished with just six hits and two walks, was never able to get multiple runners on in any inning after the first and twice was thwarted by double plays, getting just a pair of runners in scoring position over the final eight innings.

Roth (11-3) threw a complete game for South Carolina, the first of the season for a South Carolina pitcher.

Second Team All-SEC catcher Tony Caldwell (1-for-3, BB) drove in Auburn's first run with a two-out single and Kevin Patterson (2-for-4, 2B) drove in two with a double to right for the early edge.

South Carolina answered with three runs in the second before Auburn could record an out as Adrian Morales (1-for-4) drove in one and Evan Marzilli (2-for-2) drove in two with back-to-back doubles.

A Jake Williams (2-for-4) two-out single in the third gave South Carolina a 4-3 lead and then Peter Mooney's (1-for-4) two-out double scored another as South Carolina scored in three straight innings after falling behind in the first.

South Carolina extended its lead in the sixth as DeSean Anderson (1-for-2) and Mooney each drove in runs.

Auburn will play Georgia in the second game of the Thursday morning session. The loser of that game will see  their season will come to an end.