Logan McRae (Florence, S.C.) drove in five runs – including his second grand slam of the season – and Nathan Ocker (Middletown, Pa.) pitched a career-best six and two-thirds innings to lead the College of Charleston baseball team to an 8-7 win over UNC Wilmington in the series opener on Friday evening at Patriots Point.
With the win, College of Charleston (11-15, 3-1 CAA) remains tied atop the Colonial Athletics Association standings with Elon, while UNC Wilmington falls to 11-13 overall and 2-2 in CAA play. The Cougars plated eight runs on 12 hits – including two for extra bases – while five home runs accounted for all seven of the Seahawks’ tallies.
Luke Manzo (Marietta, Ga.), Dupree Hart (Rock Hill, S.C.), Tommy Richter (Wayne, Pa.), Bradley Dixon (Greenwood, S.C.), and Ari Sechopoulos (Windsor, Ontario, Canada) each picked up two hits, while McRae drove in five with a grand slam.
Ocker lasted a career-best six and two-thirds innings and struck out nine to earn his first win of the season. Will Detwiler (Camden, S.C.) closed out the seventh with a strikeout, while Carter Love (Charlotte, N.C.) tossed two innings and struck out three to pick up his first save of the season.
Ryan Jeffers paced the Seahawk offense with three home runs – including a three-run shot – while Robbie Thorburn launched a pair of solo shots in a 3-for-3 effort.
Alex Royalty surrendered two earned runs and struck out five in five innings while taking the loss, as Clay Lockamon and Austin Easter combined for three shutout frames.
The Cougars opened the scoring in the bottom of the first, plating two runs to take an early 2-0 lead on a sac fly by McRae and a fielder’s choice from Dixon. A pair of bases-loaded walks in the fourth would double the advantage to 4-0, before McRae sent a 0-1 pitch over the wall in left for a grand slam to stretch the margin to 8-0.
Jeffers and Thorburn answered with solo shots in the fifth and sixth, respectively, to trim the margin to 8-2, before a three-run homer from Jeffers cut the lead to 8-5 in the seventh. Thorburn would follow two batters later with a solo shot to right center that closed the gap to 8-6.
After Jeffers led off the ninth with his third four-bagger of the night to cut the lead to 8-7, Love settled down with two quick outs to put the Seahawks’ last hope in the hands of Thorburn. The UCNW centerfielder took the first pitch he saw on the foot for a two-out hit-by-pitch, then stole second to put the tying run in scoring position. Love would answer with authority, out-lasting the pinch-hitter Cole Weiss in a six-pitch at-bat to record the game-ending strikeout.
The Cougars and Seahawks will take the field for game two of the weekend set on Saturday afternoon at Patriots Point. First pitch is set for 4:03 pm.