College of Charleston scored six runs in the seventh inning to overcome a four-run deficit and eventually beat Elon, 11-6, evening the series at one apiece.
The Cougars (9-6, 1-1) earned their first SoCon win of the season with 11 runs, all coming in the sixth inning and later. Elon (7-6, 2-3) blew a 4-0 lead with nine runs allowed by the Phoenix bullpen.
Junior Ben Boykin led the Cougar offense with a career-high three doubles, scoring three runs and tallying two RBIs. Freshman Blake Butler tallied two hits in a homecoming game, and Brandon Murray hit a big two-RBI single in the seventh inning to give the Cougars the lead.
CofC starter Jake Zokan allowed four runs in the second inning and was pulled in the sixth frame after allowing the first two runners to reach. Junior Blake Ross (1-0) got CofC out of the inning and earned his first career win, going 2.2 IP and allowing just one hit.
Junior Michael Hanzlik finished the game after Dre Watts issued four walks to open the ninth inning. With the tying run on deck, Hanzlik struck out Alex Swim and Ryan Kinsella and induced a foulout from Sebastian Gomez to end the game.
"We had a big inning there in the seventh to open the game up," head coach Monte Lee said. "We did well to keep things going and give ourselves some runs with walks and timely hitting. We need to do a better job of getting quality at-bats earlier in the game."
Elon starter Kyle Webb had a quality start, allowing just two unearned runs in six innings while striking out 10 and just walking two. The Elon bullpen struggled as John Antonelli, Andrew MacDonald (3-1) and Brandon Kacer combined for just 1.1 innings, allowing five hits, six walks and nine runs.
Blaine Bower tallied a two-RBI single for Elon in the fourth, and Quinn Bower finished with two hits and an RBI.
The Cougars got on the scoreboard in the sixth inning after a two-out double from Boykin. Gunnar Heidt was hit by a pitch and Murray earned a walk to load the bases. Cody Martin popped up a ball in the infield, but first baseman Kinsella misplayed it and allowed two runs to score, cutting the score to 4-2.
The Phoenix added a run in the bottom of the sixth with a sacrifice fly RBI from Antonio Alvarez to push the Elon lead to 5-2.
Butler led off the seventh inning with a walk and Alex Pastorius reached on a single to left field. The runners advanced a base on Jimmy Holton's sacrifice bunt and then Bradley Goodson loaded the bases with a walk. Boykin walked in a run and Gunnar Heidt was hit by a pitch to score another run, making the score 5-4.
Murray then pulled a ball through the hole on the right side, scoring two runs and giving CofC a 6-5 lead. After a wild pitch scored Heidt, Cody Martin knocked a base hit to drive in another run and CofC led 8-5 after the top of the seventh.
Ross made a leaping catch on a comebacker in the bottom of the seventh to blank the Phoenix, and then the Cougars added three more runs on just one hit, an RBI double from Boykin, to extend the lead to 11-5 in the eighth inning.
Watts struggled with his control in the ninth inning and his four walks drew the Phoenix to within five with Swim coming to the plate with the bases loaded and no one out. However, Hanzlik struck out Swim and Kinsella and Gomez fouled out to Holton to end the game.
College of Charleston will face Elon in the Sunday rubber game with a 1:30 p.m. first pitch.