Middle innings offensive explosion propels Bucs past Bulldogs in series opener

Charleston Southern won their 7th in a row on Friday beating Samford
Charleston Southern won their 7th in a row on Friday beating Samford(CSU Athletics/Jim Killian)
Published: Mar. 5, 2022 at 12:39 AM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern baseball scored in three-straight innings but it was the fifth and sixth that did the most damage, as the Buccaneers’ offensive firepower came alive in a 16-4 Friday home win over Samford in game one of three between the two schools at Nielsen Field. The Bucs’ bullpen helped limit the Bulldogs out of the Southern Conference to just three hits over the final four-and-two-thirds innings to stoke CSU to its seventh-straight victory.


Samford (6-3) jumped to the 2-0 lead with runs in its top half of the fourth and fifth frames. In the fourth, Colton Ledbetter got the offense started with a double into the right field corner. As Hayden Harris tried to pick up the ball, he misplayed it, allowing Ledbetter to advance to third. After a Kace Garner strikeout, Kaden Dreier brought home Ledbetter on a two-hour single for the game’s first run.

The Bulldogs scratched their next run across on their next trip to the plate with Stephen Klein launching a home run to right off Zac Robinson to extend the visitors’ cushion to 2-0. No other runs would be added before Charleston Southern started its rally.

Connor Carter opened the bottom of the fifth with a double, eventually advancing to third on a throwing error with Austen Izzio at the plate. Tyrell Brewer then entered as a pinch batter and was promptly walked, loading the bases for Nicholas Fazzari. A deep sacrifice fly to center plated Carter, cutting the Bucs’ deficit in half and moving Izzio to 90 feet away. The bases loaded once again as Ryan Waldschmidt was hit by a pitch, shifting Brewer to second. The next batter, Hayden Harris, also was hit by a pitch, moving everyone up one base and bringing home Izzio. Sergio DeCello stepped into the box as a pitch hitter and he was also hit by a pitch – the third-straight batter plunked by the Samford pitching staff – allowing Brewer to trot home to give Charleston Southern the lead, 3-2.

The Bucs, however, were not done. Peyton Basler roped a bases-clearing double to right center, picking up three RBI in the process, as Waldschmidt, Harris and DeCello all scored to build a 6-2 advantage. As the lineup cycled through its second time at-bat in the inning, Carter singled to left with Basler adding the next run. Ajay Sczepkowski doubled to the right-field gap for the final CSU hit of the inning and Carter raced home all the way from first. It was 8-2 Charleston Southern by the time the inning finished.

Samford answered with one in the top of the sixth. Garner drew a leadoff walk and moved to second on a Dreier single. Garrett Staton brought home Garner in the next at-bat with a single, making it 8-3 heading to the bottom half.

In the Buccaneers’ next turn at the plate, Fazzari reached base on a walk. He then slipped over to second on a Will Lynch wild pitch. Waldschmidt and Harris also drew walks as the next two batters, loading the bases again with Dylan Stewart. Stewart was hit by a pitch, plating Fazzari and putting the other two in scoring position. Blaser laid down a short single to the catcher, who was unable to make a play, and Waldschmidt hustled home to put the Bucs in double figures.

Carter was the next up, and he too was hit by a pitch, bringing Harris home and keeping the bases packed. Two batters later Izzio slugged a grand slam off the left-field scoreboard, making it a 15-3 score heading to the seventh.

Once again, the Bulldogs put one in their scoring column as Will David walked and then came home on a Towns King triple to left to make it 15-4. The final CSU run came in the bottom of the seventh, as Fazzari opened with a walk before stealing second to move into scoring position. He advanced to third on a fly out to right and then came home as Casey Asman hit a sacrifice fly to deep center.

Nine different Bucs registered at least one RBI, including four apiece by Izzio and Basler. Carter and Izzio tallied a team-best three hits each.

Sam Massey picked up the win for CSU, tossing just two-thirds of an inning but striking out both Samford batters he faced as the first reliever for starter Jerry Couch who went four-and-a-third, striking out four. Daniel Padysak also recorded four strikeouts in the one-and-two-thirds relief appearance later in the game.


“I thought Jerry (Couch) was as good as he’s looked since stepping foot on campus. Massey got us two BIG outs in the fifth that really seemed to ignite our dugout. Carter and Izzio had terrific nights, and I really liked the ‘toughness’ our offense displayed as well as the way we ran the bases. Kudos to Coach Brittle and the work he has done with the base runners.”


The weekend series continues Saturday afternoon in another ESPN+ televised contest. First pitch at Nielsen Field at CSU Ballpark is set for 1:30 p.m.