College of Charleston outlasted No. 30 South Alabama in another close game, winning 3-2 and taking the series in Sunday's rubber game at Patriots Point.
The Cougars (6-5) held the visiting South Alabama Jaguars (10-2) to just two runs for the second game this weekend, and freshman Alex Pastorius hit the go-ahead RBI in the fifth inning to give the Cougars the win.
Freshman starter Nathan Helvey (2-1) pitched his second quality start of the season, going six innings and allowing just two runs on five hits. He struck out five and did not allow a walk. Senior Drew Freie held the Jaguars scoreless into the ninth inning, and Michael Hanzlik (1) earned the save after inducing two infield outs with two on in the ninth inning.
USA starter Jarron Cito (0-1) picked up his first loss of the season, allowing three runs through 4.2 innings pitched, striking out five.
Pastorius was the only Cougar to record multiple hits, while Whitt Dorsey picked up two hits for the Jaguars.
"It was a knock-down, drag-out fight between two good programs and we came out on top," head coach Monte Lee said. "I give our pitching staff a lot of credit for making good pitches there at the end of the ballgame to secure the lead."
South Alabama took an early 1-0 lead in the second when Drew Patterson hit a solo home run off the right-field foul pole, just the first visiting home run allowed at Patriots Point this season.
Charleston responded with two runs in the fourth inning, which started with a single from Gunnar Heidt and double from Ben Boykin. Welke and Murray both earned RBIs on groundouts and the Cougars took a 2-1 lead.
USA tied the game in the top of the fifth inning with a leadoff double from Dorsey and a single from Graham Oden to put runners on the corners with one out. Jeff DeBlieux grounded out to second to score a run, and Hayden Jones grounded out to first to end the inning.
The Cougars went ahead for good in the bottom half of the fifth, when Tyler Jackson was hit by a pitch and Cody Martin singled to center. Pastorius hit a double to the wall in right center and Jackson came home to score, although Martin was thrown out at the plate.
Helvey struck out the side after a leadoff error in the sixth, and Freie only allowed one base runner until there was one out in the ninth inning. Dustin Dalken reached on a walk and Dorsey singled to put the tying runner at second with one out. Hanzlik came in and got the second out of the ninth on a sacrifice bunt and Odom grounded out to second to end the game.
The Cougars will play host to CAA opponent UNC Wilmington on Tuesday afternoon at 4 p.m. That game will be available on the Charleston Sports Network and on AM 910 The Zone. Wednesday's originally scheduled home game against CSU has been moved to North Charleston and will begin at 2 p.m.
NOTES: College of Charleston's pitching staff allowed just five earned runs all weekend against No. 30 South Alabama which came in averaging 9.4 runs per game … Helvey's quality start was his second this season and the fifth by the CofC starters in the season's first 11 games … this weekend, the CofC starting pitchers struck out 21 batters and walked two … freshman Alex Pastorius is on a five-game hitting streak and hit 6-of-13 with seven RBIs this past week … senior Cody Martin was ejected after a collision with the catcher in the fifth inning and will automatically be suspended for a single game, per Southern Conference rules.