CHARLESTON, SC - The Citadel baseball team dropped the opener of this weekend's Southern Conference series 14-5 to UNCG Friday night at Joe Riley Park.
The Spartans (35-12, 16-3 SoCon), the top team in the SoCon and one of the best hitting teams in the nation, banged out 17 hits and capitalized on three Bulldog errors to notch the win. UNCG scored single runs in the second, third and fourth to take a 3-0 lead early, then exploded for four runs in the fifth, three more in the sixth, another three in the seventh and capped the night off with a solo run in the top of the ninth.
In the sixth, Ben Peden broke up the shutout with a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Jeffery Brown from third.
The eighth and ninth innings saw the Bulldogs (17-30, 6-13 SoCon) put up crooked numbers. In the eighth, Brown scored off a balk by the UNCG pitcher and three at-bats later, William Kinney scored an unearned run off a miscue by the UNCG first baseman. The 'Dogs put up another two runs in the ninth with two outs on the board as both Brown and Cameron Jensen scored off a two-RBI single down the left-field foul line by Kinney.
The Bulldogs received multi-hit games from Brown, Kinney, Peden and Ryan McCarthy, notching 12 hits as a team despite going up against one of the best pitchers in the league in the form of Matt Frisbee to start. Brown ended his night 4-for-5 with three runs scored, upping his season batting average to .329, a 34-point jump from prior to the game.
Kinney added a 2-for-3 outing with a pair of runs batted in and a run scored while Peden and McCarthy each went 2-for-4.
For UNCG, Dillon Stewart went 5-for-5 with four runs scored while Andrew Moritz batted in five off a 2-for-5 night. Caleb Webster went 3-for-6 with three runs scored and Ryan Clinch added three RBIs.
Frisbee (W, 10-0) pitched the first six innings and struck out seven batters compared to giving up six hits, one walk and one earned run. He then gave way to Dan Loats and Jeremiah Triplett for just over an inning each.
Jordan Merritt (L, 2-5) pitched the first four-plus innings for the Bulldogs and struck out three batters with Morgan Foulks, Jack Henry Beasley, Shane Connolly and Hunter Barbee following him. Connolly fanned two batters and did not give up a hit or a run in his one inning of action.
The Bulldogs and Spartans will continue the series on Saturday, May 12 at 2 p.m. The series will wrap up on Sunday, May 13 at 1 p.m.