Bo Thompson ended three innings of frustration for The Citadel by driving home Hughston Armstrong with a single in the bottom of the 11th, giving the Bulldogs a 5-4 win over College of Charleston in an exciting opener to a three-game set between the city rivals.
Skylar Hunter was a workhouse on the mound, going four shutout innings and throwing a career-high 74 pitches to earn the win. He allowed only three hits and one walk while striking out four to help The Citadel even its record at 7-7.
The Cougars, who entered the game ranked No. 29 by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, dropped to 10-3. The teams continue the series with a 2 p.m. game on Sunday at Patriots Point before returning to Riley Park on Monday at 6 p.m.
Armstrong singled with one out in the bottom of the 11th and got into scoring position when he stole his fourth base of the year. After Michael Hanzlik got the second out of the inning, Thompson lined a 1-1 pitch in front of center fielder Alex Pastroius to easily score Armstrong.
The Citadel had the potential winning run at second with only one out in each of the three previous innings, but Cougar pitchers Chase Henry and Hanzlik were able to wriggle out of trouble, assisted by a pair of double play grounders. College of Charleston had a threat of its own in the top of the 11th, but Hunter struck out Brandon Glazer with two men on.
The Bulldogs led 3-0 after five and Logan Cribb was cruising along with a three-hit shutout. The Cougars then started the sixth with three straight hits, including an RBI single by Glazer, and took advantage of two errors to score twice more, pulling into a 3-3 tie. Glazer drove in another run with a single in the seventh to give CofC its first lead of the day.
The Citadel bounced right back to tie it in its half of the inning when Tyler Griffin recorded his fourth hit and third RBI of the game, bringing home pinch runner Jason Smith. The game then developed into a pitching battle between Hunter and Henry until Thompson's game-winning hit four innings later.
Griffin, who matched his career high in hits first set against North Florida last February, put the Bulldogs on top with a run-scoring single in the first off Cougar starter Nathan Helvey. Thompson drove in a run with a double and Griffin followed with another RBI single in the third to build The Citadel's lead to 3-0.
The Bulldogs got a runner to second in both the fourth and fifth but were unable to add to their lead.
Armstrong, DeKerlegand and Thompson each had two hits, making the top four batters in The Citadel lineup a combined 10-for-20 with four runs scored and all five RBI. The Bulldogs were without second baseman Mason Davis, whose illness kept him out of the lineup for the first time in his career after 131 consecutive starts.
Junior left hander James Reeves will get the start for The Citadel at Patriots Point tomorrow. Reeves is 2-0 with wins over Virginia Tech and Nebraska and has an ERA of 3.24. He will be opposed by Cougar sophomore righty Taylor Clarke (2-1, 1.80 ERA).