CHARLESTON, SC - The Citadel baseball team scored four runs after the fifth inning Friday night to rally from a 2-0 deficit, claiming a 4-2 win over UConn at Joe Riley Park to open a four-game series with the Huskies.
"This was a great Friday night college baseball game. I'm very proud of all of our guys," said head coach Tony Skole. "Dylan Spence gave us a great performance and went toe-to-toe with Time Cate, who is one of the best left-handers in the country. Our guys hung in there after we ran ourselves out of some innings early. We just really struggled doing some frustrating things, but we hung in there, got some big hits late and I'm proud of our pitching staff and our defense tonight."
UConn (5-5) edged out to a 2-0 lead through three innings with single runs in the top of the first and third off five hits. From there, the Huskies managed to tally just three more hits for eight on the night.
After the fourth and fifth frames passed scoreless, Taylor Cothran spurred a scoring drive for the Bulldogs (6-7) with a double in the bottom of the sixth that scored both William Kinney and Jonathan Sabo. Kinney, who led all players with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate, singled earlier in the inning. After Sabo wore a 2-2 pitch, Bryce Leasure laid down a sacrifice bunt to move both Kinney and Sabo into prime position for Cothran's big double to the gap in right-center field.
In the seventh, Kinney once again singled to reach safely, this time with two outs on the board. After Sabo moved him to second with a single of his own, the UConn pitcher attempted to pick Kinney off, but overthrew his shortstop covering second. The throwing error allowed Kinney to race to third where he rounded as the UConn center fielder mishandled the loose ball and Kinney barely broke stride as he raced home for the go-ahead run.
Ben Peden gave the Bulldogs an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth when he hit a single to shallow right field, scoring Clay Martin who stole second earlier in Peden's at-bat.
Kinney, Cothran and Peden all tallied multi-hit games with Cothran notching a pair of RBIs and Kinney scoring twice.
Zac Susi and John Toppa each had two hits in for the Huskies.
Dylan Spence started the day for the Bulldogs on the bump and gave The Citadel a solid outing of six innings and six strikeouts without giving up a walk. Jordan Buster (W, 2-1) came on for two innings to earn his second win of the season while Sabo pitched the final frame for his second save of the campaign.
UConn's starter, Tim Cate (L, 1-3) suffered the loss despite striking out nine batters in seven innings of work.
The Bulldogs and the Huskies will continue the series on Saturday, March 10with a 2 p.m. first pitch. Sunday's contest will commence at 1 p.m. and the series finale on Monday will feature a 3 p.m. first pitch.