Gamecocks sweep Auburn to stay on track

South Carolina outfielder Evan Marzilli is congratulated by teammate Scott Wingo on Sunday afternoon.

COLUMBIA -- Keeping pace in the Southeastern Conference's Eastern Division is no easy task in 2011.

It took a sweep against Auburn this weekend for second-ranked South Carolina to keep its nose just ahead of Vanderbilt and Florida, which both swept their opponents.

The Gamecocks, Commodores and Gators are all 17-4 in the league -- but USC holds the ever-so-slight edge, thanks to wins in the head-to-head series.

"We control our destiny," third baseman Adrian Morales said. "We've got to continue to play well and not look at the standings. At the end, it works itself out. We just need to play hard and get every win we can in the SEC."

South Carolina is 35-8 overall, despite a rash of injuries that maddeningly shows no signs of stopping.

"These guys just play hard and try to find a way to win," Gamecocks coach Ray Tanner said after Sunday's 7-3 victory that sealed the sweep.

Already without outfielders Jackie Bradley Jr. (wrist) and Adam Matthews (hamstring) for the foreseeable future, the Gamecocks lost freshman DeSean Anderson to a hamstring injury early Sunday.

Anderson tumbled to the ground after reaching first base on a double-play ball that did score a run for USC.

"Everybody's going down," shortstop Peter Mooney said. "I don't know what's going on."

Jake Williams moved from left to right, and pitcher-turned-emergency-outfielder Steven Neff left the bullpen to enter the game in left field. Evan Marzilli, who missed last week after a scare with a rapid heartbeat, started and played Bradley's spot in center.

Bradley had surgery Friday on his left wrist, and he has said he intends to return. Matthews is taking batting practice now, but Tanner said late last week his return is not imminent.

There is no immediate timetable for Anderson.

"I think we're going to have to hire a couple of new trainers," Tanner said, joking. "I don't think we have enough. (Head trainer) Brainard Cooper is overworked right now, to say the least. He's trying hard to get them back as quickly as he can. It's been a little bit unusual, for sure."

South Carolina freshman right-hander Forrest Koumas (5-0) battled, allowing two runs on four hits in five innings, to stay undefeated.

RBI hits by Christian Walker and Brady Thomas in the fourth helped open USC's lead to 5-2, and the Gamecocks kept Auburn mostly quiet from there.

Matt Price worked the final two innings for his 13th save of the season. Auburn (23-21, 9-12) loaded the bases in the ninth, but Price got a lineout double play to end the threat.

Michael Roth started the weekend with another dominant outing, allowing a run in eight innings. A Scott Wingo single in the ninth delivered a 2-1 victory in the pitchers' duel.

Four Gamecocks had two-hit days in Saturday's 10-2 victory against the Tigers. Colby Holmes went a career-long 7 1/3 innings to get the victory.

South Carolina travels to Wofford on Wednesday before hitting the road for a weekend series at Ole Miss. USC's final regular season series at Carolina Stadium, against Arkansas, begins May 13.