A one-out, two-run home run by William Kinney in the bottom of the seventh inning lifted The Citadel baseball team to a 4-2 win over UConn in the third game of a four-game series Sunday afternoon at Joe Riley Park.
"I'm really proud of our guys. After the thumping we took last night, we challenged our guys and they responded in a big way," said head coach Tony Skole. "It comes down to that starting pitcher and Alex gave us almost six great innings and pitched well. Buster and Pillsbury then came on and gave us some support and we decided to go with Sabo there for two. I just cannot say enough about our pitching staff and what they did today. Then you also look at the offense, we had six hits and four runs, four sac bunts and a squeeze in there, tried to steal a base and that's just Citadel baseball right there. Sometimes we make mistakes because we're trying to make things happen and sometimes it doesn't always work, but the type of club we are, we have to push the buttons, take some chances and that's what we're going to continue to do."
The game started off as a classic pitchers’ duel as Alex Bialakis went toe-to-toe, pitch-for-pitch with Chase Gardner in the early going. The two combined for five strikeouts while giving up just one walk and three hits through the first three innings. Gardner then gave up the first run of the game in the bottom of the fourth when Taylor Cothran singled to left field, scoring Jonathan Sabo from second. Cothran's single was just the third of the game for the Bulldogs at the time.
In the next frame, Andrew Judkins laid down a beautiful sacrifice bunt, scoring J.D. Davis who walked to lead off the inning and made it around to third on a sac bunt by Clay Martin and a wild pitch.
UConn was able to tie things back up in the top of the sixth with three hits, a sacrifice fly and a pair of walks, but Jordan Buster got out of the inning with a strikeout and a fly out to center field to minimize the damage.
An inning and a half later, Davis led off with a single to left field with Martin moving him over into prime position with another great sacrifice bunt. That's when Kinney struck with his second homer of the season, sending the ball just fair of the left field foul pole.
With a two-run lead in hand, the Bulldogs turned to Sabo to close out the game. Sabo delivered, giving up just one hit in the final two innings to record his third save of the year.
Will Pillsbury (W, 1-1) earned his first win of the campaign for The Citadel while Trevor Holmes (L, 0-1) suffered his first loss.
Bryce Leasure had a solid day at the dish, going 2-for-3 as the Bulldogs recorded six hits on the afternoon.
Zac Susi gave the Huskies two hits and a run scored and UConn finished the game with seven hits.
The Bulldogs and the Huskies will wrap up the series on Monday, March 12. First pitch will be at 3 p.m.