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Auburn vs Jacksonville State
March 29, 2022; Auburn, AL, USA; The team reacts during the game between Auburn and Jacksonville State at Plainsman Park. Mandatory Credit: Jacob Taylor/AU Athletics

Auburn sweeps South Carolina out of Plainsman Park

AUBURN, Ala. (EETV) - Auburn completed the series sweep against the South Carolina Gamecocks on Sunday, 2-0.

Joseph Gonzalez started on the mound for the Tigers and pitched seven innings allowing zero runs and seven hits with four strikeouts and no walks.

Auburn got on the board in the second inning with a double from Nate LaRue into left field, bringing Cole Foster from second base around to score. Foster was walked in his at-bat and stole second to get into scoring position.

Blake Rambusch led Auburn in hitting with four hits in four at-bats, including an RBI. Sonny DiChiara also got on base with relative ease throughout the game. DiChiara was one-for-two in his at-bats with two walks.

Mike Bello robbed the first glimpse of South Carolina getting on the scoreboard in the top of the sixth inning, leaping above the right outfield fence to pick the ball out of the sky.

“Mike knew eight minutes before the game that he had the start today, but what a catch he made,” Thompson said. “That was one of the biggest plays of the game.”

“We practice that all the time, just getting to the wall and catching the ball,” Bello added.

Carson Skipper took over for the Tigers in the eighth, facing a difficult situation: two on base and no outs in a two-run game. Skipper embraced the challenge, though, getting out of the inning with a strikeout and a double play with just six pitches.

In the next inning, closer Blake Burkhalter delivered his 11th save of the year. In the four batters he faced, Burkhalter got a strikeout and two fly-outs.

“Skipper and I told coach, ‘If it comes down to it and you need us in the ballgame, we’re ready to throw.’” Burkhalter said.

Auburn hits the road for a midweek game against Jacksonville State on Tuesday at 6 p.m. CT. Auburn continues its road trip for a series at No. 1 Tennessee. The first game is Friday at 6 p.m. CT on SEC Network+.