Youngsters Come Through in Key Spots to Help Bulldogs Rally Past Spartans
CHARLESTON, SC -
Freshmen Barrett Charpia and Austin Mapes came through with clutch hits to drive in the tying and winning runs as The Citadel rallied from six runs down for a 9-8 victory over USC Upstate at Riley Park.
The Bulldogs (8-9) gained a split of their home-and-home series with the Spartans (8-11) and avenged a 6-2 loss in Spartanburg on Feb. 18. The game was the final one before opening Southern Conference play this weekend at Davidson.
Charpia capped a six-run uprising in the sixth when he chopped a double over the head of third baseman AJ Mackey that brought home Jason Smith to tie the game at 7. Two innings later, Bret Hines led off with his second double of the afternoon, was sacrificed to third by Stephen Windham and scored on a pinch hit single to right by Mapes to put The Citadel in front.
The game-winning hit was Mapes' third pinch hit RBI single of his freshman campaign.
The Bulldogs added another run in the eighth on a ground out by Hughston Armstrong to take a 9-7 lead into the ninth. Skylar Hunter gave up a run but struck out two, including Zach Krider with the tying run in scoring position, to earn his fourth save of the year.
Hunter also recorded his 17th career save to tie Jay Morgan for seventh on the all-time Citadel list. Zach Sherrill preceded Hunter on the mound and allowed only one hit in two shutout innings to earn his third win of the year without a loss.
Jordan Miller, the fourth of five Upstate pitchers, allowed the two runs in the eighth and took the loss, dropping to 0-1.
The Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead in the third before the Spartans put up three in the fourth and two in each of the next two frames to build a 7-1 margin behind starter Zach Mitchell, who was working on a three-hitter at that point.
The Citadel struck quickly in the sixth to get back in the game as the first six batters reached against Mitchell and reliever Brian Boocock. Mason Davis doubled, Armstrong walked and Bo Thompson tucked a three-run homer just inside the left field foul pole to cut the Upstate lead in half.
The round tripper was Thompson's third of the season and 20th of his career, making him the 17th player in Bulldog history to reach that plateau. The junior slugger also raised his season RBI total to 18.
Boocock entered the game after the Thompson homer and promptly allowed singles to Tyler Griffin and Calvin Orth with a double by Drew DeKerlegand sandwiched in between to make it 7-5. Boocock got Hines to pop into a double play on a bunt, but Ryan Kilgallen and Charpia picked him up with RBI base hits that knotted the game.
Charpia has been in the lineup the past two games as regular shortstop Johnathan Stokes continues to recover from having his wisdom teeth removed on Monday. Charpia had gone hitless in five at bats in his first two college games before coming through with his two-base hit.
Sherrill entered the game with two on and nobody out in the top of the seventh and worked out of the jam, aided by a double play. The Citadel had a chance to take the lead in the bottom of the seventh, but Miller induced a double play of his own when he got Orth to ground into one with the bases loaded.
The Citadel opens its series against Davidson on Friday at 6 p.m., as the Bulldogs begin their quest for their first SoCon regular season championship since 2010.