Bucs split with Runnin’ Bulldogs to close out weekend series
CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern earned the doubleheader split with visiting Gardner-Webb on Saturday afternoon at Nielsen Field at the CSU Ballpark as the Buccaneers bounced back from a 10-6 loss in the opener to take the 7-1 finale.
CSU (14-20, 14-16 Big South) was powered by a pair of Andrew Bullock home runs in the split, while John Sendziak and Sam Massey posted strong appearances on the mound as the Bucs split the season series with the Runnin’ Bulldogs. Houston Parker added a three-RBI day at the plate, while Derek Horton and Dante Blakeney added a RBI triple to highlight CSU’s hitting.
Gardner-Webb (21-17, 20-9 Big South) utilized home runs from Eric Jones (twice), Keiji Parkhurst, and Bo Rusher as the Runnin’ Bulldogs connected on six home runs over the three-game series to take two of the three from the Buccaneers.
Game One: Gardner-Webb 10, Charleston Southern 6
Gardner-Webb broke open a 3-3 game with a four-run frame in the top of the sixth as the Runnin’ Bulldogs took the doubleheader opener on Saturday afternoon. Eric Jones connected on a home run to spark the frame for GWU, while Mitch McLendon added a two-run double as the Runnin’ Bulldogs secured the series win.
Andrew Bullock, Sam Trend-Beacom, and Dante Blakeney all posted multi-hit games for CSU, while Alex Andronica had a two-RBI contest to lead the Bucs’ offense in the opener.
Hunter McIntosh (0-2) suffered the loss for the Bucs after a 2.2-inning relief appearance as the senior left-hander surrendered three runs and two hits in the game. Kyle Sandstrom went 2.2 innings in his first collegiate start on the mound, while Jack Dungan, Christian Baker, Bradyn Kail, Krishna Raj, Connor Yoder, and Jordan Bridges all made appearances in the contest.
Jones and McLendon both recorded three-hit games for the visiting Runnin’ Bulldogs, while Keiji Parkhurst added a three-run game to highlight GWU’s offense.
Luke Goodyear (2-0) picked up the win in a two-inning relief appearance for starter Bobby Alcock. Connor Gleeson, Corey Treyes, and Isaac Campbell went the final 3.1 innings in closing out the win.
How They Scored
- Eric Jones and Keiji Parkhurst opened the scoring with a pair of solo home runs in the top of the second inning to put GWU ahead 2-0 early in the contest.
- CSU cut into the lead in the bottom of the inning as Alex Andronica posted a sacrifice fly scoring Dante Blakeney to narrow the gap to 2-1.
- Mitch McLendon added to the GWU lead in the third scoring on a failed pickoff attempt to put GWU ahead 3-1.
- The Bucs evened the score in the bottom of the fourth with Andronica bringing in Brooks Bryan on a RBI groundout, while Andrew Bullock singled in Blakeney to tie it up 3-3.
- GWU took control of the game in the sixth with Jones’ solo home run and McLendon’s two-run double highlighting the four-run frame.
- CSU battled back with Houston Parker’s RBI groundout scoring Reid Hardwick in the sixth and narrowing the lead to 7-4.
- Bryan scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh as the Bucs continued to narrow the gap to 7-5.
- JP McGuire put two more runs in the GWU column in the top of the eighth with Parkhurst and Ben LaSpaluto scoring to cut the lead down to 9-5.
- Sam Trend-Beacom put the Bucs’ final run in the game across the plate with Parker scoring on the RBI single.
- Patrick Ferguson’s RBI double in the top of the ninth capped the scoring with Jones coming around to score to provide the final margin.
Game Two: Charleston Southern 7, Gardner-Webb 1
Andrew Bullock homered in both the first and fifth innings in support of strong pitching performances from John Sendziak and Sam Massey as the Buccaneers salvaged the series finale against the visiting Runnin’ Bulldogs.
Bullock’s two-run shot in the bottom of the first sparked the CSU offense while his solo shot in the bottom of the fifth answered Bo Rusher’s home run as the Bucs picked up their 14th win in Big South play this season.
Derek Horton added a RBI double, while Dante Blakeney connected on a RBI triple as the Buccaneers scattered 10 hits in the win.
Sendziak went the first 4.2 innings in getting the no-decision on the mound. The junior right-hander surrendered two hits and one run while striking out six in his best start of the season. Massey went 3.1 innings in scoreless relief allowing two hits while striking out three, while Jack Dungan pithced a scoreless ninth.
Kyle Ruehlman (1-2) took the loss after going the first two innings. He allowed seven hits and five runs in falling for the second time in the 2021 season. Casey Young, Tyler Harrison, and Sebasten Boivin went the final six innings to close out the game.
How They Scored
- Andrew Bullock’s two-run home run and Derek Horton’s RBI double highlighted a three-run first inning as the Buccaneers took the early lead over GWU.
- Houston Parker’s RBI single sparked the scoring in the second, while Dante Blakeney added a RBI triple putting CSU ahead 5-0 after two frames.
- Bo Rusher put GWU’s lone run of the game on the board with a solo home run in the top of the fifth.
- Bullock answered in the bottom of the frame with a solo shot down the right field line to put the Buccaneers ahead 6-1.
- Houston Parker drove home the final run of the contest with a RBI single scoring Andronica in the bottom of the seventh.
News and Notes
- CSU and Gardner-Webb split the season series, 3-3, with both teams winning their respective road series this spring.
- Kyle Sandstrom made his first start on the mound this spring, while John Sendziak took the mound in his second start of the season in game two.
- Andrew Bullock connected on his team-leading fourth and fifth home runs of the 2021 season on Saturday afternoon.
- Bullock remains the lone Buccaneer with multiple home runs on the year.
- Dante Blakeney recorded his first triple of the season as he became the fifth Buccaneer to record a three-base hit in 2021.
- A season-high four Buccaneers were hit by a pitch in Saturday’s opener against the Runnin’ Bulldogs.
- The Bucs moved up into fifth in the Big South regular season standings following their weekend series. CSU (14-16) moved ahead of Radford (12-14) and sits behind Presbyterian (11-11) for the final spot in the conference tournament.
- Sam Massey picked up his second win of the 2021 season.
- Jordan Bridges and Bradyn Kail both picked up their 15th appearances on the mound on Saturday.
Charleston Southern remains home for their final home weekend series on May 7-8 as the Buccaneers welcome the Winthrop Eagles to Nielsen Field at the CSU Ballpark. CSU will recognize their 2021 seniors prior to Friday night’s opener with first pitch set for 6 p.m. on ESPN+.