CHARLESTON, SC - Bobby Ison and Robby Streett opened the game with home runs as Charleston Southern held off a late comeback from The Citadel as the Buccaneers defeated the Bulldogs at the CSU Ballpark on Wednesday afternoon, 8-6.
Junior pitcher Tory Schroff (2-0) retired the Bulldogs in order in the top of the first and the Buccaneers bats came alive on their first swings as Ison drilled the third pitch from Citadel starter Nate Brecklin (0-1) over the fence in right centerfield. Five batters later, Robby Streett connected on his first home run of the season, driving the ball over the fence in left centerfield, scoring Chase Shelton and Alex Tomasovich as the Buccaneers built a 6-0 lead.
Charleston Southern added a run in the third as Cody Austin drove in Shelton on a sacrifice fly ball, and added an insurance run in the eighth as Jaren Sustar scored on a wild pitch as the Buccaneers picked up their fifth win of the season.
"When you play these crosstown rivals, you always want to play well," commented head coach Stuart Lake following the game. "Defensively, with Chase (Shelton) opening the game with the running catch on the wet turf, and then Bobby (Ison) leading off with the home run; it just gives the team confidence that you can relax and just play baseball."
Charleston Southern improves to 5-3 overall with the win, while The Citadel falls to 4-4 in 2013.
Schroff picked up his second win of the season in his first start at Charleston Southern, pitching five innings and striking out seven, while scattering four hits and one run.
"Tory was able to give us a quality start today," said Lake on his starting pitcher. "He pitched well at the juco level and showed his ability to start and compete at a high level today. He allowed us to settle in and didn't let The Citadel get back into the game."
Austin Weekley closed out the game in picking up his first save on the season, allowing one hit in 1.2 innings while striking out two.
"Austin came up big for us at the end of the game," said Lake on Weekley earning the save. "The Citadel had gotten the first guy on in each of last couple of innings before the ninth, and him coming in to close out the game was great."
The Citadel sent seven pitchers to the mound in the game with Brecklin taking the loss in the contest. Brecklin went 0.2 innings, allowing six hits and six runs in the loss. Brett Tompkins and Logan Cribb pitched effectively in relief for the Bulldogs, allowing four hits and one run in 5.1 innings.
Ison, Sustar, Shelton and Drew Woodall had two hits apiece for the Buccaneers in the contest, with Sustar and Shelton both crossing the plate twice. Streett led the team with three RBI, courtesy of his three-run home run in the bottom of the first inning.
Jason Smith, Joe Jackson and Johnathan Stokes had two hits apiece for The Citadel in the game, with Stokes leading the way with two RBI, while Smith scored twice in the loss.
Charleston Southern opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning with the first six batters reaching base and coming around to score to stake the Buccaneers to the early lead.
Ison opened the frame with his first home run of the season and Sustar followed with a single up the middle. John Faircloth followed, reaching on a fielding error, before Tomasovich drove in Sustar with a base hit. Shelton continued the run with a base hit, driving in Faircloth, paving the way for Streett's three-run blast over the fence in left centerfield.
The Bucs extended their lead in the bottom of the third inning as Austin brought in Chris Shelton on a sacrifice fly ball down the right field line. Shelton led off the frame with a base hit up the middle, advancing into scoring position on Woodall's base hit. CSU loaded the bases on Harrison Wilkins' base hit through the left side on the infield, leading way to Austin's RBI sacrifice fly.
The Citadel struck back with one run in the fourth inning as Bo Thompson drove in Smith with a sacrifice fly. Smith reached on a one-out bunt single, advancing to second on a balk. Jackson followed with a single, moving Smith over to third, leading to Thompson's sacrifice.
The Bulldogs continued their run in the bottom of the sixth, plating four runs to narrow the CSU lead down to 7-5.
Tyler Griffin scored the first run of the inning, crossing the plate on a fielder's choice, while Drew DeKerlegan doubled in Thompson for the second run of the frame. Stokes followed two batters later with a shallow single into right centerfield, scoring Griffin and Hughston Armstrong to pull The Citadel back within striking distance.
The lead was narrowed down to one following the top of the seventh inning as the Bulldogs loaded the bases on three walks with one out against CSU reliever Zack Hagaman. A wild pitch brought Mason Davis across the plate, to put the score at 7-6. Hagaman escaped the jam, retiring the next two batters on a strikeout and infield popup to keep the Bucs lead intact.
Charleston Southern plated an insurance run in putting up a crooked frame in the eighth inning. The Bucs loaded the bases with one out as Sustar and Faircloth reached on singles, while Shelton drew an intentional walk with one out. A wild pitch issued to Streett brought Sustar across the plate for the final run of the game.
Weekley, brought in to relief for the Bucs in the top of the eighth inning, retired the side in order, striking out Davis and Jackson in the process in closing out the win.
"We're trying to get a little more on the teams," commented Lake on the upcoming weekend schedule. "North Florida is coming off a huge win over Florida in Gainesville and they took two of three from The Citadel this past weekend. "Jacksonville State is playing South Alabama right now and they are always a quality program. It will be a tough weekend."
Charleston Southern takes to the road this weekend for a three game swing, taking on North Florida and Jacksonville State in Jacksonville Fla. from March 1-3.