BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. - Charleston Southern took the final game of the weekend against Gardner-Webb thanks to a strong pitching performance from Daniel Padysak and key hitting from Andrew Bullock and Reid Hardwick as the Buccaneers took the series from the Runnin’ Bulldogs with the 7-4 win.
CSU (7-6, 7-3 Big South) never trailed in the series finale as the Bucs utilized contributions throughout the lineup, while Padysak (2-1) picked up his second win in the 2021 season. Bullock posted a 3-for-4 day from the plate that included his first home run in the CSU Blue & Gold, while Hardwick added a pair of sacrifice flies in pacing the Bucs to their third consecutive conference series win.
Padysak went the first six innings in another strong start for the freshman from Prague, Czech Republic. He fought his way through a tough third inning on his way to his second career 10-strikeout performance.
The Bucs took the lead in the top of the second inning as Bullock followed up a Johnny Oliveira walk with a two-run home run down the left field line to put the Bucs ahead 2-0 early.
CSU added to the lead with a run in the top of the third as Kyle Sandstrom connected on a one-out double to left field and stole third to put him 90-feet from home plate. Two batters later, Houston Parker connected on the RBI single through the right side extending the Bucs’ lead to 3-0.
Gardner-Webb responded by three runs in the bottom of the third behind a RBI double from Joe Simone, and a two-out, two-run home run by Keiji Parkhurst to tie the game up at 3-3.
The Bucs added two more runs in the top of the fourth inning to retake the lead. Hardwick and Sandstrom both connected on RBI sacrifice flies in the inning scoring Bullock and Christian Maggio to swing the 5-3 advantage back to CSU.
The Runnin’ Bulldogs made it interesting late as Dom Peroni singled to left field allowing Joe Brazil to score and narrow the Bucs’ lead down to 5-4.
CSU tacked on a pair of late insurance runs in the ninth as the Bucs took advantage of GWU wildness on the mound. Alex Andronicascored the first run on a wild pitch, while Hardwick’s second sacrifice fly of the game came after the Runnin’ Bulldogs walked the bases loaded and scored Oliveira to provide the final scoring margin.
Sandstrom allowed just a one-out walk to Simone in the bottom of the ninth on the way to closing out his first save of the 2021 season.
Padysak allowed eight hits and three runs (all earned) in the conference win. Sendziak allowed two hits and a run over his 1.1 innings of work, while Jordan Bridges and Sandstrom (S,1) went the rest of the way for the CSU bullpen.
Casey Young (0-3) suffered the loss for Gardner-Webb after surrendering six hits and five runs (all earned) over 3.1 innings. Kyle Ruehlman went 4.2 innings in scoreless relief, while Lenny Washington and Sebasten Boivin worked the final frame for the Runnin’ Bulldogs.
News & Notes
Charleston Southern won their third consecutive Big South series to open the 2021 baseball season as the Bucs topped Longwood (2-1), UNC Asheville (2-1), and Gardner-Webb (2-1) to open conference play.
It marked the first time since the 2002 season the Bucs have won their first three conference series weekends with CSU topping Liberty, Radford, Coastal Carolina, and UNC Asheville over the stretch.
Head Coach Marc MacMillan becomes the first CSU baseball coach to win his first three conference series weekends in his respective coaching tenure.
Kyle Sandstrom continued his on-base streak with a double in the top of the third inning as the senior has now reached safely in 24 consecutive games dating back to the 2020 spring season.
Daniel Padysak’s 10-strikeout game equaled his career-high set last season on February 29, 2020 against Delaware State when he went 6.0 innings and struck out 10 against the Hornets.
Padysak’s 10-strikeout game was also CSU’s second double-digit strikeout effort by a starting pitcher as R.J. Petit picked up 10-Ks against the Runnin’ Bulldogs in Saturday’s opening contest.
Houston Parker has recorded hits in seven of his last eight games and RBI in four of his last five to highlight the Bucs’ recent offensive surge.
Jordan Bridges has made a team-high six appearances on the mound this season to go with a spot fielding performance against Boston College on the opening weekend and pitched in three of the Bucs’ four games on the week.
Reid Hardwick finished the weekend on a five-game hitting streak and has posted RBI in five of the last six contests.
Sandstrom picked up his first collegiate save on Sunday afternoon and currently sits with a 1-0 record on the mound with a 0.00 ERA over five appearances and 5.2 innings’ pitched.