The Citadel's 2014 season came down to three at bats in the ninth, but Wofford closer Eric Eck proved up to the task, striking out the side to preserve a 4-2 win over the Bulldogs in an elimination game of the Southern Conference Tournament at Riley Park.
After walking Hughston Armstrong on four pitches and allowing a two-strike bloop single to left center by Bo Thompson, Eck fanned Tyler Griffin, Drew DeKerlegand and Johnathan Stokes to move the Terriers along in the tournament.
Wofford, making its first postseason appearance 2008, improved to 31-27 and will face the loser of tonight's Samford-Davidson game. The Bulldogs finished their season with a mark of 24-34 and have dropped all four games they have played against the Terriers in the SoCon Tournament.
Wofford scored twice in the first and added two more in the fifth to build a 4-0 lead before The Citadel began to inch closer. Bret Hines reached on an error and pinch hitter Austin Mapes drew a walk against reliever Luke Leftwich to put two runners on with one out in the sixth.
After Calvin Orth flied out, Mason Davis singled and Hines scored when the ball was misplayed by James Plaisted in left to get the Bulldogs on the board. The rally continued in the seventh when Thompson homered to left to lead off the inning, his ninth of the season and 26th of his career, moving into sole possession of ninth place in school history.
Following the Thompson round tripper, Griffin drew a walk and was sacrificed to second by DeKerlegand. Will Stillman was brought in as the third Terrier pitcher of the inning and worked out of the threat, striking out Stokes and inducing Hines to ground out to short.
The Bulldogs again put the leadoff batter on base in the eighth when Ryan Kilgallen worked back from an 0-2 count to draw a walk. But Orth grounded into a double play to keep Wofford in front by two.
Skylar Hunter, who pitched around a runner at second, one-out jam in the eighth, tossed a perfect bottom of the eight, giving the Bulldogs one more chance that they were unable to capitalize on.
The save for Eck was his 12th of the season and 29th of his career, good for fifth in SoCon history, two ahead of Hunter. Jesse Morris went the first five innings and gave up six hits and no runs with four strikeouts to earn his ninth win of the year.
Austin Livingston took the loss for the Bulldogs, going four innings and giving up four hits and four runs (three earned). Zach Sherrill had another strong game out of the bullpen, working 2.1 innings of two-hit, shutout ball before Hunter went the final 1.2 frames.
Wofford jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first, putting runners on second and third with a single and double and Eric Brenk brought home the opening run of the game on a bunt base hit down the third base line. Plaisted swiped the plate on the back end of a double steal, and the Bulldogs cut down another such attempt to keep it a two-run contest.
The Citadel had a chance to score in the second, but Hines was thrown out at the plate by right fielder Josh Hyman trying to race home from second on a base single by Davis, one of his three hits in the game. The Bulldogs also left two runners on base in the third and fifth and stranded a total of 13 in the contest.