Auburn earns first SEC win with 4-3 victory at south Carolina

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The No. 68 Auburn men's tennis team picked up its first Southeastern Conference win Sunday, defeating No. 50 South Carolina 4-3 in Columbia, S.C. The Tigers are now 4-7 overall and 1-3 in conference play, while the Gamecocks fall to 6-6 and 0-4 in the SEC.

"It was nice to get our first SEC win today," head coach Eric Shore said. The team has been working hard and paid off.  They came out and played well in doubles to start, which really helped us."

The duo of seventh-ranked junior Tim Puetz and sophomore Alex Stamchev kicked things off with an 8-3 victory over Diego Cubas and Pedro Campos at No. 1 doubles. The Gamecocks, however, took an 8-5 win at No. 3 doubles to put pressure on second doubles spot.

Freshman Andreas Mies and junior Michel Monteiro were not fazed by the pressure as the pair gave Auburn a 1-0 lead with an 8-4 win over Ivan Machado and Johannes Pulsfort.

Tiger freshman Lucas Lopasso scored Auburn's second point of the day, defeating Machado in two sets (6-1, 6-2) at No. 4 singles. The 89th-ranked singles player in Stamchev put the Tigers up 3-0 with a two-set win over Alexander Kostanov at No. 3 singles, 6-3, 6-3.

Campos put South Carolina on the board, coming away with a two-set (6-4, 6-4) victory over Hewitt at No. 2 singles. The Gamecocks'

Cressoni made things interesting by bringing South Carolina within a point, winning No. 5 singles in two set (7-6, 6-3) over Mies.

The final two singles matches were battles, seeing both conclude in three sets. Auburn captain and 26th-ranked Puetz took on No. 65 Cubas at No. 1 singles and dropped the first set, 6-1. Puetz, however, fought back and took set two, 6-4. Puetz proved to be a fighter as he easily took the third set, 6-1, to secure the Auburn team victory.

"I'm proud of our captain and how he fought to win in three sets to give us the team win," Shore said. "Tim really showed his leadership today."

Freshman Michael Wardell faced Pulsfort at No. 6 singles and took the first set, 6-3. Wardell, however, dropped the final two sets to Pulsfort.

Auburn continues its road swing, traveling to nonconference opponent North Carolina on March 19 for a 2 p.m. match. The Tigers then take on Kentucky on March 21 at 1 p.m. in Lexington.