Charleston Southern's Zack Hagaman pitched out of a seventh-inning jam to pick up the save and preserve a 6-5 win over Eastern Kentucky in the series finale on Sunday afternoon. The Bucs dropped the continued second game of the series earlier in the day, which was halted on Saturday by rain, 5-1.
CSU moves to 2-1 to open the season, while Eastern Kentucky falls to 1-2. The win gives the Bucs a win in their season-opening series and start an eight-game home stand to open the season off on the right foot.
"To open up with a series win against a team that won a very good conference (Ohio Valley) last season, there is no question it's a great way to start the year," Bucs' head coach Stuart Lake said after the game.
Charleston Southern 6, Eastern Kentucky 5 (7 inn.) Hagaman came out of the bullpen to strike out three and toss 1.2 innings of scoreless work to pick up his first save of the season in a 6-5 win.
The junior gave up a leadoff single in the seventh, but struck out EKU's Matt Phipps and induced a popup on the infield from Austin Grisham to close out the win. He also struck out the final two batters in the sixth with the tying run on third.
"I just told our guys that we got a strikeout when we needed it," Lake said. "We kind of let them back in it with walks. It seemed like Ison and Faircloth spent the day on the bases running around a lot and that got us going. Also, (Jaren) Sustar made a lot of nice plays at third."
The Bucs were outhit in the win, 11-7, but made the most of their scoring opportunities.
After EKU jumped to a 2-0 lead on Bucs' freshman starter Andrew Thomasovich, the Bucs answered back with four runs in the bottom half of the second.
Sustar and Brian Welch each came through with RBI singles and Bobby Ison reached on an infield single when Codu Austin beat out a throw to second for the force. The Bucs took advantage of a leadoff walk and a hit batsmen to open the frame.
CSU extended its lead to 6-2 in the fifth as Ison laid down a bunt single and scored on an RBI single by John Faircloth.
The Bucs would get their final run as Faircloth slid past a tag at the plate on a wild pitch for the decisive run.
Reliever Austin Weekley and the Bucs' defense save the game in the fifth.
EKU's Bryan Soloman reached on a wild pitch after striking out to open the frame. A single by Shaun Ball gave EKU a pair of runners to work with, but a diving catch by Faircloth in left on a line drive by Adam Hughes saved extra bases and kept the Bucs lead at four.
Eastern Kentucky would climb back into the game in the sixth, cutting the lead to one.
Weekley issued a pair of walks to open the inning and Ball delivered an RBI single to left as EKU cut the lead to 6-5. Hagaman would strike out the final two batters of the inning to strand the tying run at third.
Ison and Welch both went 2-for-3 in the game for the Bucs.
Left fielder Demetrius Moorer was 2-for-4 with an RBI for Eastern Kentucky.
Weekley (WP, 1-0) worked 2.1 innings to pick up the win, while Brent Cobb (LP, 0-1) allowed five earned runs over 4.1 to take the loss for EKU.
Eastern Kentucky 5, CSU 1 (Continued from Saturday) Eastern Kentucky (1-1) put up three insurance runs in the top of the eighth to even the series with a 5-1 win. The game was completed on Sunday afternoon after being halted by rain through five innings on Saturday.
EKU reliever Ben Gullo went four innings and allowed only one hit to pick up the save and give starter Shane Grimm his first win of the season. Grimm scattered five hits in five innings on Saturday.
A two-run double by pinch hitter Luke Wurzelbacher sealed the win for the Colonels.
CSU's John Faircloth had two hits and Drew Woodall added an RBI single.
Charleston Southern (1-1) managed just one hit in Sunday's four innings.