CHARLESTON, SC. – Strong pitching and clutch hitting were the formula for success Friday night as The Citadel used a four-run eighth inning to defeat North Alabama, 6-3, in the series opener at Joe Riley Park.
Score: The Citadel 6, North Alabama 3
Records: The Citadel (3-5), North Alabama (2-7)
Series: The Citadel leads 1-0
Location: Charleston, South Carolina (Joe Riley Park)
- Ryan McCarthy delivered a two-run single through the right side to give the Bulldogs the lead in the seventh inning.
- Bryce Leasure followed with a two-run single of his own to extend the Bulldogs lead to 6-2.
How it Happened
- UNA got on the board in the first inning as a leadoff single came around to score on a base hit from David Elliott.
- The Bulldogs came back and put a two spot on the board in the second after Lane Botkin beat out an infield single and scored when Ben Peden laced a double into the gap in right center.
- A fielding error helped the ‘Dogs push across another run in the inning.
- The Lions answered back in the fourth with a Tate Mathis two-out RBI double.
- Right hander Jordan Merritt would control the game from that point as he allowed just three hits over the next four innings.
- The Citadel would provide the offense it needed in the seventh inning as Tilo Skole walked and went to second on a sacrifice bunt from J.D. Davis. An error and a walk to Tyler Corbitt loaded the bases.
- On a 3-2 pitch, Ryan McCarthy tuned on a pitch and ripped through the infield for a two-run single.
- Not to be outdone, Bryce Leasure followed with a two-run single to left on a 3-2 pitch.
- The Lions would get a run in the ninth on a pair of hits.
Inside the Box Score
- Jordan Merritt (1-2) turned in his third-straight quality start as he gave up three runs on nine hits in throwing his first career complete game. The reigning Southern Conference Pitcher of the Week struck out three and did not walk anybody.
- Case Best (0-3) took the loss after giving up four runs, two earned, on seven hits over 6.1 innings.
- Ryan McCarthy continued to swing a hot bat as he went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored.
- Lane Botkin had his best game in a baseball uniform as he went 3-for-4 with a run scored.
- The Bulldogs got at least one hit from seven of the nine hitters in the lineup.
- The Citadel got the leadoff runner on in seven of the eight innings.
The Bulldogs and Lions play the second game of the three-game series Saturday at 3 p.m. The game is Read Across America with fans being able to get tickets for $5 with the donation of a book. The game is sponsored by the South Carolina Education Lottery.
Head Coach Tony Skole
“Once again I am very proud of Jordan Merritt. He gave us his third quality start in a row. It is good to finally give him a little bit of run support. I thought we played really good defense tonight.
“I am proud of our offense. We had the leadoff guy on seven of the eight innings and were finally able to put some traffic on the bases. We left a lot of guys on base tonight, and made some mistakes on the bases, but I tip my hat to North Alabama because they had a lot to do with that.
“It was a good win for us. It was good to finally win Friday night and we know we are going to have a big challenge ahead of us tomorrow.”
Right Hander Jordan Merritt