The College of Charleston Cougars scored two runs in the eighth and brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth, but could not overcome a solid pitching performance from UNC Asheville starter Dean Roland as the Bulldogs took a 4-2 win in the series opener.
The loss snapped College of Charleston's (33-16) five-game home winning streak while UNC Asheville improved to 23-24 on the season.
Roland (5-4) picked up his fifth win of the season as he took a one-hit shutout into the eighth inning. He finished the game with 8.0 innings pitched, three hits allowed and one earned run while striking out nine. Dillon Tabar came on for the ninth inning and picked up his first save of the season.
CofC starter Christian Powell (8-3) suffered just his third loss of the season as he pitched 5.0 innings, allowing six hits and giving up four runs, one earned, and striking out five. Reliever Drew Freie pitched an impressive four innings of relief, allowing just one hit and striking out five to keep the Cougars in striking distance.
Down by four runs in the eighth inning, the Cougars mounted a two-out rally starting with a walk from Marty Gantt. Bradley Goodson knocked his second hit of the game, a single to center that moved Gantt to third base. Daniel Aldrich followed with another single that scored Gantt and put the Cougars on the board. Roland then threw a pitch inside that made it to the backstop for a passed ball, allowing Goodson to score and cut the margin to 4-2.
Despite a leadoff single by Brandon Glazer in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Cougars were unable to move him around after a flyout and two strikeouts.
The Bulldogs got on the scoreboard in the second inning with a solo home run from Patrick Koontz.
UNC Asheville added to that lead in the fourth with a leadoff double from Billy Creighton and a walk from Hunter Bryant. Powell was able to record the next two outs without runners advancing, but a hard hit ball to second from Todd Joyner forced a tough throw from Gunnar Heidt that got away from Rob Harding at first, allowing Creighton to score. A double from Ian Graham scored two more unearned runs and the Bulldogs held a 4-0 lead.
The two teams will play the second game of the series on Saturday evening at 7 p.m. The game time was changed from the original schedule to accommodate College of Charleston graduation.