Preview of SEC Tournament Game 3: (8)Auburn vs. (1)South Carolina

Preview of SEC Tournament Game 3: (8)Auburn vs. (1)South Carolina
May 25, 2011, 3:56 am
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by Knox Bardeenknox.bardeen@css-sports.com

HOOVER, Ala. Top-seeded South Carolina (44-12, 22-8 SEC) will play the Southeastern Conferences No. 8 seed Auburn (29-27, 14-16 SEC) in the first round of the SEC Tournament Wednesday in Hoover, Ala. First pitch is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. CT and the game will be broadcast on CSS.

The Gamecocks swept Auburn in their season series at the end of April, outscoring the Tigers 19-6.

Auburn will send junior Jon Luke Jacobs to the hill Wednesday. Jacobs is 1-4 with a 3.59 ERA in 10 starts this season. Jacobs is coming off of an eight hit, three run performance on May 19 in which he lost to Tennessee. He did face South Carolina earlier this season, throwing eight strong innings and giving up five hits and one earned run in the loss.

Michael Roth will start for the Gamecocks after telling head coach Ray Tanner that he was ready to pitch. The junior lefty is 10-3 with a 1.28 ERA in 14 starts this season. Roth hasnt given up more than two earned runs in any start this season, and only twice given up more than seven hits in an outing. His last two starts have resulted losses, but hes only given up two earned runs in the 11 innings of work against Arkansas and Alabama, respectively.

In Roths start against Auburn he went eight innings and gave up seven hits and one earned run. He struck out six batters and walked just one and did not factor into the decision.

Auburn comes into the SEC Tournament limping from four losses in its last five games. In the month of May, the Tigers are 6-7.
The Tigers are 29-37 all-time in the SEC Tournament and 9-15 when Hoover is the host site. Auburn has won the SEC Tournament three times: 1978, 1989 and 1998.
Casey McElroy and Tony Caldwell enter the tournament swinging hot sticks. McElroy has an active13-game hitting streak an Is 25-for-54 in the month on May. Caldwell has hit safely in 12 of his last 13 games and finished the season with a .328 batting average.
Auburn is 2-2 all-time against South Carolina in the SEC Tournament. Its last two wins are the most current contests; a 3-1 win last year and a 5-1 win in 2003.
Keep an eye on Justin Fradejas who went 5-for-12 against South Carolina this season with a home run and two RBI. Kevin Patterson, who was launching batting-practice home runs like he was NASA on Tuesday, is the only other Tiger with a home run against the Gamecocks.
Auburn won three series this season against opponents in the tournament field. The Tigers beat Arkansas, Georgia and Alabama, but lost to South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State.
South Carolina has one SEC Tournament title; in 2004. The Gamecocks have qualified for the tournament in 15 straight seasons, the longest active streak of any conference team.
Since 2000, South Carolina is 26-9 (.743) against Auburn, the best winning percentage over any team in the SEC except Kentucky (30-10, .750).
The 2011 season was Michael Roths first as a full-time starter. Head coach Ray Tanner said that it might be the most impressive jump from the bullpen to the rotation in the shortest time period that hes ever seen.
South Carolina is the only team in the 2011 SEC Tournament that won every season series against opponents in the tournament field. The Gamecocks played all seven tournament teams, sweeping Auburn and winning, 2-1, against the six others.&8232;

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