Sixth-inning rally sinks Bucs in season opener

Sixth-inning rally sinks Bucs in season opener
Charleston Southern pitcher Tyler Weekley pitched 6+ solid innings in the Bucs season opening loss to La Salle (Source: Charleston Southern Athletics)

CHARLESTON, S.C. – La Salle used a four-run sixth inning to spoil Charleston Southern’s home opener Friday night behind a three-run home run from first baseman Ben Faso before the Explorers closed it out 6-3 from Nielsen Field at CSU Ballpark.

VIDEO: Charleston Southern drops opener to La Salle

Both starting pitchers matched zeros across the first four innings before Charleston Southern (0-1) scratched across one in the fifth, but a quick four-run rally capped-off by a Ben Faso home run to left field proved to be enough for La Salle (1-0) to steal a win.

CSU’s senior righty Tyler Weekley had 5.1 innings of no-hit baseball to begin the season, but a hit batter and error on a pickoff attempt got the wheels spinning for the visiting Explorers. Quentin Brown drove home the tying run before a Nick O’Day hit-by-pitch set up the game-winning three-run homer.

Weekley finished the night with a hard-luck loss allowing four runs, three earned across 6.0 innings and striking out six La Salle batters.

On the other side of the diamond, La Salle righty Matt Holt countered with 6.0 innings of one-run ball while striking out eight Buccaneer hitters and sprinkling five hits.

CSU had a late rally of their own scoring two runs in the bottom of the seventh on three Explorer errors, but couldn’t push across the tying run. La Salle scored two more in the top of the ninth to extend it back to 6-3 and Connor Hinchliffe closed it out with 2.1 shutout innings.

How It Happened

  • Tyler Weekley and Matt Holt tossed four scoreless  innings each to start the contest before both offenses caught breaks and  used timely hitting to scratch across runs.
  • CSU got on the board first when senior  centerfielder Josh Litchfield hit a sacrifice fly to center field scoring  Christian Maggio and a 1-0 lead.
  • La Salle countered with four runs in the  sixth, three earned thanks to two hit batters a single, pickoff error and  home run.
  • The Bucs responded in the home-half of the  seventh scoring two runs on three La Salle fielding errors that kept the  inning alive.
  • CSU scored their second run of the night on  a fielding error from the shortstop as Ryan Rizk touched home then  Litchfield scored the final CSU tally on another fielding error from  shortstop Tommy Toal.
  • Connor Hinchliffe came on in relief to get  out of the inning then worked two-more scoreless to keep the Bucs from  piecing together another rally.
  • La Salle added two more in the ninth on two CSU  fielding errors to push the margin to 6-3 where it would stand to the  finish.

News and Notes

  • CSU centerfielder Josh Litchfield extended his  hitting streak to five games dating back to the end of the 2018 season.  Fellow senior Jason Miller also extended his on-base streak to nine games  dating back to one season ago.
  • Both teams committed four errors in the  season opener as only four of the nine runs scored Friday were earned.
  • The duo of Tyler Weekley and Cody Maw  combined for eight strikeouts and just three earned runs in the loss. 
  • Sophomore shortstop Ryan Rizk also extended  his on-base streak Friday night making it five-straight games.
  • Of the five pitchers used between both teams,  only one walk was issued Friday night while 20 hitters struck out over the  course of nine innings.

Up Next CSU and La Salle return to the diamond Saturday afternoon in the second game of the series with the Bucs seeking a win on their home field. First pitch from Nielsen Field at CSU Ballpark is slated for 4 p.m.