Charleston Southern jumped out to an early a four-run lead and starter Tory Schroff took a shutout into the eighth inning to carry the Buccaneers to a 4-2 win in the Big South series opener at Presbyterian on Friday afternoon.
CSU extends its win streak to seven games and moves to 24-20 overall and 7-11 in Big South play. Presbyterian falls to 14-29-1 and 6-16 in league play. The teams play game two of the series tomorrow at 3 p.m. at the PC Baseball Complex.
Schroff (WP, 5-2) was in complete control into the eighth inning. He struck out five and didn’t allow a walk in 7.2 innings of work. Two infield singles and a fielding error in the eighth sparked the Blue Hose’ only runs.
“He did what he has done his whole career,” CSU head coach Stuart Lake said of Schroff’s start. “He came in and settled us in on the road against an opponent we haven’t seen yet. We were hoping he’d get through the eighth, but (Brandon Paul) had a great lead off at-bat to disrupt him and we made it tougher when we made the error.”
Schroff had the benefit of Bobby Ison setting the tone in the game’s first at-bat. The junior doubled to right to lead off the game and Andrew Widell followed with a double into the left-field corner as the Bucs scored the game’s first run before PC ace Chandler Knox (LP, 6-6) recorded an out.
The Bucs pushed the lead to 2-0 in the first on a sacrifice fly from Zack Hagaman to score Widell.
“Bobby got us started,” Lake added. “We’re facing (Knox) who has almost half their wins and he comes out and gives us confidence with the double. Then Widell drives a ball to switch places with (Ison) and Hagaman had two key early at-bats.”
Hagaman added the other half of the Bucs’ runs with a two-run single in the third to put CSU up 4-0. The senior ripped a two-run double off the base of the fence in right center to drive home Ison and Shelton as the Bucs gave Schroff a big cushion.
After the Bucs’ fast start, both starters cruised until the eighth. Knox retired eight-in-a-row at one point, while Schroff sat down nine before hitting a batter to lead off the seventh.
Presbyterian made things interesting in the eighth with a little help from CSU. Schroff deflected a would-be double play ball by Jacob Midkiff and Bucs’ second baseman Cody Austin bobbled a ground ball at second to as CSU helped the Blue Hose a little. Brandon Paul has an infield single and Jay Lizanich plated him with an RBI single to left to cut the lead to 4-2.
Freshman Will Hartsell (S,1) came on to get Brad Zebedis to ground out to Kevin Hickey and end the jam. He gave up a single in the ninth, but struck out Nate Chong to end the game.
Hagaman was 1-for-3 with a double and three RBI. Shelton added a 2-for-4 afternoon and scored a run.
Ison was 1-for-4, but extended his hitting streak to 11 games.
Paul was 3-for-4 and scored a run for the Blue Hose.