CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Citadel scored six runs in the first three innings on the way to an 8-5 victory over Mercer in the series opener Friday night at Joe Riley Park.
Score: The Citadel 8, Mercer 5
Records: The Citadel (10-20, 3-4 SoCon), Mercer (13-17, 2-5 SoCon)
Series: The Citadel leads 1-0
Location: North Charleston, South Carolina (CSU Ballpark)
· The Bears got a RBI double with one out in the eighth, but the Bulldogs were able to throw the runner out trying to stretch it into a triple. The Citadel would go on to strike out the next hitter and avoid any further damage and keep the three-run lead.
How it Happened
· The Bulldogs wasted little time in getting on the scoreboard as Ryan McCarthy started the game with a base hit.
· After stealing second, Ben Peden singled through the right side to score McCarthy.
· Three batters later, Andrew Judkins singled through the right side to score Peden and make it 2-0.
· The Citadel was back on the offensive in the second inning as Brooks O’Brien started the inning with an infield single. McCarthy followed with a single to right and Tyler Corbitt singled to left to score O’Brien.
· Peden followed with a two-run double into the gap in left center.
· A throwing error to start the third inning helped the ‘Dogs plate their sixth run. Will Bastian reached on the air and was sacrificed to second. He stole third and scampered home when the throw sailed into left field.
· The Bears got two runs back in the fourth on a two-run double from Collin Price.
· Mercer added two more runs in the fifth on a RBI double from Kyle Dockus and a run-scoring single form RJ Yeager.
· The ‘Dogs were able to get two of the runs back in the sixth as McCarthy started the inning with a double off the wall in left center.
· Peden drove in McCarthy with a single through the right side, then came around to score on a Wes Lane single through the left side.
· The Bears tried to mount a rally in the seventh as Garrett Wilkinson doubled off the wall in right center to drive in a run, but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple. The Bulldogs used the momentum to strike out the next hitter and end the inning.
· Mercer had one last effort in the ninth as they got a one-out walk. That would be all they would get as the next hitter grounded into a game-ending 6-3 double play.
Inside the Box Score
· Jordan Merritt (3-4) allowed four runs on four hits and four strikeouts over 5.0 innings to pick up the victory.
· Dylan Spence (1) came out of the bullpen and allowed one run on two hits over 4.0 innings to earn his first save of the season.
· Beau Healy (2-3) allowed two runs on four hits in just one-third of an inning to take the loss.
· The Bears would use seven different pitchers in the game.
· Ryan McCarthy sparked the offense from the top of the lineup by going 3-for-5 with three runs scored.
· Ben Peden continued to swing a hot bat by going 3-for-5 with four RBIs and two runs scored.
· Bryce Leasure added two hits and drew a walk.
· Brooks O’Brien went 1-for-2 with a walk and a run scored out of the nine hole.
The teams play the middle game of the three-game series Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m.
Head Coach Tony Skole
“I was really excited about our offense tonight. Man, we got off to a great start scoring six runs in the first three innings. That allowed Jordan Merritt to settle in during the first third of the ballgame.
“When you are playing Mercer, as good as they are offensively year in and year out, you can never have enough runs and they showed that and got back into the ballgame.
“I am really proud of our offense. Ben Peden is swinging a hot bat right and now and Ryan McCarthy had three hits. We got production from one through nine in our lineup tonight.