COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Auburn baseball scored six runs in the final three innings and defeated South Carolina 6-2 on Saturday at Carolina Stadium.
"When we were down 2-0, I was a little frustrated with our non-competitive at-bats and I got after our guys a little bit," Auburn head coach Sunny Golloway said. "They pitched their closer. It's going to be tough. You don't have to score against him. You've got to stay close and you've got to keep competing. He isn't going nine innings and when they go to the bullpen - jump on them. That was our plan and it worked."
The win improved Auburn to 31-17, 11-12 on the season. The victory was the first for the Tigers in Columbia since 2009.
Senior right-hander Rocky McCord posted his third-straight quality start and tied a career high with seven innings pitched. McCord (W, 5-3) earned the victory for Auburn with just one earned run allowed on four hits. The quality start was his seventh of the season.
The Tigers took the lead in a well-executed eighth inning. Melvin Gray led off the inning with a walk, then Anfernee Grier followed with a base hit. Gray went all the way to third and Grier ended up taking second on the throw.
Daniel Robert then delivered a sacrifice fly for his 14th RBI in the last 12 games and a 3-2 lead. Auburn made it 4-2 as Grier came around to score on a heads up play after an error on South Carolina second baseman Max Schrock allowed Damon Haecker to reach.
Auburn added two insurance runs in the ninth on a squeeze bunt by Kyler Deese and a hit-and-run RBI single by Gray.
Izaac Yarbrough pitched the final two innings for his first save of the season.
Cody Nulph had two hits and five different Tigers had RBIs. Gray stole three bases, the first time since 2013 an Auburn player accomplished that feat.
Auburn had previously battled back to tie the game in the seventh as Nulph and Sam Gillikin delivered RBI singles to knot the game at two.
South Carolina (27-20, 10-13) opened the scoring with Elliott Caldwell coming home on a grounder to third base in the second inning and Caldwell taking a bases loaded walk for a 2-0 advantage in the third.
Gamecock closer Taylor Widener started and pitched five innings with no runs allowed and seven strikeouts. Cody Mincey (2-3) took the loss with one run allowed one two hits in one inning pitched.
South Carolina used a total of seven pitchers.
Kyle Martin led South Carolina with two hits.
Auburn and the Gamecocks play the rubber game on Sunday at 1 p.m. central time on ESPNU.