Seventh-seeded The Citadel scored twice in 11th inning to outlast No. 2 seed College of Charleston, 8-6, in the opening game of the 2012 Southern Conference Baseball Championship at Fluor Field.
The Citadel improves to 25-31 and will move on to play tomorrow at either 5 p.m. or 8 p.m. College of Charleston (37-19) moves into the consolation bracket and will play tomorrow at 10 a.m. The teams' opponents are based on the results of the game between Elon and Georgia Southern with the winner facing the Bulldogs and the loser matching up against the Cougars.
Justin Mackert led the Bulldogs with a 2-for-4 effort, including a home run and 3 RBIs while right fielder Tyler Griffin went 3-for-5 with a pair of runs batted in, including the game-winner in the 11th.
The Citadel wasted little time against the conference's Pitcher of the Year, starting the first inning with three consecutive singles by Orvin, Davis, and Mackert. Mackert drove in Orvin on his infield single while Joe Jackson's sacrifice fly to left field brought home Davis to stake the Bulldogs to an early 2-0 lead. Powell prevented further damage by striking out the last two batters, leaving runners at the corners.
The Bulldogs added two more in the second on just one hit while Mackert added an insurance run in the eighth inning with a towering home run over the Green Monster in left field to stretch the margin to 6-2.
Trailing by four, the Cougars rallied for four runs with two outs in the bottom of eighth inning to knot the score at six apiece. Pinch hitter Tyler Jackson had the big blow with a three-RBI, bases-clearing double to the gap in right center field. Marty Gantt followed that with a single to left to plate Jackson.
In the decisive 11th inning, Joe Jackson led off the Bulldogs' frame with a single to left and was replaced at first to pitcher TJ Clarkson who reached on a fielder's choice. Griffin then drove a double into the gap in right center to plate Clarkson. An error by CofC third baseman Brandon Glazer, one of Charleston's four miscues on the day, allowed Griffin to cross the plate to make the score 8-6.
Clarkson pitched the final 3.1 scoreless innings, surrendering just one hit. He earned the win to improve to 4-4 on the year while also scoring the game-winning run.
The Citadel starting pitcher Austin Pritcher allowed two runs on four hits in 6.0 innings of work but was left with a no decision.
Powell surrendered a season-high five runs although only two were earned. He struck out four.