The Citadel baseball team defeated UNCG 5-2 behind another double-digit strikeout performance from JP Sears on Friday afternoon at the UNCG Baseball Stadium.
Sears recorded his sixth double-digit strikeout game of the season, the 10th of his career, when he struck out 11 batters at UNCG on Friday. Sears threw eight innings, allowing just two runs on four hits. The Spartans entered Friday’s game with the third best batting average in Division I.
The Bulldog left-hander threw at least eight innings for the fifth time in 12 starts and at least six innings for the 11th consecutive start. The 11 strikeouts gave Sears 301 for his career, the fourth Bulldog pitcher to reach the 300-strikeout plateau in program history. Sears also passed current pitching coach Britt Reames (296) and Mike Pendleton (298) for fourth on the all-time list.
The Bulldogs (15-30, 6-13 SoCon) opened the scoring in the third inning, led off by Taylor Cothran’s double with one out. Cothran scampered back to second base, avoiding the tag on a ground ball by Jonathan Sabo, putting runners on first and second for William Kinney. The Bulldog shortstop then knocked a double down the left field line to score Cothran. Sabo later scored on a wild pitch to give The Citadel a 2-0 lead early.
UNCG (28-19, 11-8 SoCon) answered in the bottom of the third on a two-run home run by Michael Goss to knot the score at 2-2.
The Citadel offense immediately grabbed the lead back in the fourth inning, however, scoring three runs. After Shy Phillips led off with a single, he later scored on a sacrifice bunt by Cole Buffington thanks to an error by the UNCG third baseman. Three batters later and with the bases loaded, Sabo grounded one hard to the third baseman who made another error to allow Clay Martin and Buffington to score and put the Bulldogs ahead 5-2.
The three-run lead would be all that Sears needed as he set down the final 15 batters he faced. Jordan Buster came on in the ninth inning and continued the trend, not allowing a base runner and striking out one batter to record his third save.
Cothran and Kinney led the offense with two hits apiece. The Bulldogs had four doubles, with two from Kinney, one by Cothran and one by Joe Sabatini.
The Bulldogs and Spartans continue their series Saturday at 3 p.m. Live statistics and video will be available at CitadelSports.com.
Top 3rd – The Citadel 1, UNCG 0: Taylor Cothran scored from second on double down the left field line by William Kinney with one out.
Top 3rd – The Citadel 2, UNCG 0: Jonathan Sabo scored from third on a wild pitch with one out.
Bottom 3rd – The Citadel 2, UNCG 2: Tripp Shelton scored on a two-run home run to left center field by Michael Goss with two outs.
Top 4th – The Citadel 3, UNCG 2: Shy Phillips scored from second base on a sacrifice bunt by Cole Buffington, with an error on the third baseman with no outs.
Top 4th – The Citadel 5, UNCG 2: Clay Martin and Cole Buffington scored on a ground ball error by the third baseman with one out.