BROOKLINE, Mass. – The College of Charleston baseball team kept Northeastern scoreless through seven innings, before back-to-back home runs in the eighth sparked the Huskies to a 4-3 come-from-behind, walkoff win over the Cougars in Colonial Athletic Association play on Saturday afternoon.
The result breaks a tie atop the CAA standings between Northeastern (15-16, 8-3 CAA) and College of Charleston (17-18, 7-4 CAA), and puts the Huskies one game ahead of the Cougars. Northeastern plated four runs – all in the final two frames – on 12 hits, while Charleston pushed across three tallies on 10 base knocks.
Tommy Richter (Wayne, Pa.), Luke Manzo (Marietta, Ga.), and Ari Sechopoulos (Windsor, Ontario, Canada) each collected two hits for the Cougars, as Manzo, Richter, and Dupree Hart (Rock Hill, S.C.) all drove in one run.
Evan Sisk (Chester, S.C.) was masterful through seven innings, allowing no runs on six hits and striking out seven through the opening seven frames before surrendering back-to-back homers to start the eighth. Nathan Ocker (Middletown, Pa.) pitched the final one and one-third inning, and surrendered two runs on three hits and struck out two to take the loss.
Charlie McConnell paced the Huskies’ offense with a 3-for-5 effort, which included a solo homer. Mason Koppens drove in two – including a solo shot in the eighth – before his ninth-inning single plated the winning run. Ryan Solomon added two hits.
Northeastern starter David Stiehl pitched into the fourth, allowing three runs on six hits and three walks in three innings. Nate Borges tossed four and one-third scoreless frames, while Brian Rodriguez struck out the side in the ninth to earn the win.
The Cougars got on the board with two in the third, including an RBI bunt single by Hart that scored Sechopoulos for the game’s first run. Richter followed with a run-scoring single to center three batters later to give Charleston an early 2-0 lead. Joey Mundy (Huntington, W.Va.) scampered home on a Manzo sac fly in the fourth to push the Cougar advantage to 3-0.
The Huskies threatened to cut into the lead in the home half of the fifth with three hits, before Hart and Manzo turned a masterful 4-6-3 double play to escape the danger. Richter and Bradley Dixon (Greenwood, S.C.) put the Cougars in prime position to extend the lead in the eighth, as the duo reached on a walk and an infield single before being stranded at second and third.
Northeastern began the rally right off the bat in the eighth, as McConnell led off with a home run to deep right to cut the lead to 3-1. Koppens followed two pitches later with a solo shot to left, which pulled the Huskies within one at 3-2. A one-out double from Solomon forced the Cougars to go to the bullpen for Ocker, who responded by retiring the final two batters of the inning on a fly out and a strikeout to preserve Charleston’s one-run advantage.
Sechopoulos gave the Cougars another opportunity at an insurance run with a leadoff triple to right center in the ninth – the first three-bagger of his collegiate career. Rodriguez quickly settled down, leaving Sechopoulos standing at third with three straight strikeouts to send the game into the home half.
Cam Walsh wasted little time putting the tying run in scoring position for the Huskies, leading off with a double before advancing to third on a pinch-hit single by Nick Fanneron. Walsh covered the remaining 90 feet in the next at-bat, as pinch-hitter Zach Perry sent a fly ball to deep center to score Walsh on the sac fly to tie the score at 3-3. After pinch-runner Nolan Lang astutely moved from first to second on the play, Koppens lined a walk off single into left center two batters later to score Lang to give the Huskies the 4-3 win.
The Cougars and Huskies will meet in the weekend finale on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 pm.
-per CofC Athletics