AUBURN, Ala -- Whit Merrifield's RBI fielder's choice in the top of the ninth inning lifted South Carolina to a 7-6 victory over Auburn on Friday evening at Plainsman Park in the first of a three-game SEC baseball series
Justin Smoak also set the South Carolina career record for home runs as he hit his 49th in a Gamecock uniform and his 10th of the season.
Carolina is now 23-10 and 7-6 in the SEC while Auburn is now 22-13 and 6-7. The series continues today at 4 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on the Gamecock Radio Network and on gamecocksonline.com with Mike Morgan and Tommy Moody on the call.
With the game tied at 6-6 in the top of the ninth inning, the Gamecocks got things started with a one-out walk to Scott Wingo.
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The Gamecocks would then put runners on the corners as the hit-and-run worked with Reese Havens knocking a base hit through the hole at shortstop giving the Gamecocks the winning run at third base.
Merrifield then delivered a line shot to third base that Joseph Sanders corralled to get Reese Havens out at second base but that would be the only out for Auburn on the play as Wingo scored and Merrifield reached first base.
Auburn looked to mount a rally in the bottom half of the ninth with runners on first and second base with one out. Carolina reliever Brandon Todd worked his way out of the jam though as he coaxed Sanders into a 4-6-3 double play to end the game and preserve the Gamecock victory.
Todd earned the win and is 2-1 on the year after two innings of work out of the bullpen. He allowed one run on three hits with a walk.
Auburn reliever Bryan Woodall suffered the loss and is 2-2 on the year. He went an inning and allowed one run on one hit and one walk.
• CLEMSON -- The Clemson vs. North Carolina baseball game was postponed due to inclement weather with the Tar Heels leading 5-0 after six innings at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
Play will resume at the stopping point today at 4 p.m. Game-two of the series will start approximately 30 minutes after the conlusion of game-one.