Charleston Southern takes series opener over Gardner-Webb
CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern baseball used a strong effort from Kaleb Hill out of the pen and two long balls to best Gardner-Webb in the series opener Friday night, 6-3 at Nielsen Field. Austen Izzio’s two-run blast in the seventh proved to be the difference behind Hill’s dominate performance. Gardner-Webb (13-26, 4-9 Big South) found the game’s first run in the top of the first after a Curtis Robison single found real estate in right field to score Jacob Marcos. The Runnin’ Bulldogs found one more in the frame after Robison came around to score on a wild pitch.
Charleston Southern (15-23, 7-9 Big South) knotted things up at two in the fourth in a big way. Ryan Waldschmidt got a fastball down the middle of the plate and did not miss it, leaving the yard for the third time in four games. Waldschmidt’s two-run shot scored Peyton Mills, who got on previously with a double in the gap.
Both teams would go dormant on the offensive side after both pitchers were able to settle down and dictate the pace until the seventh frame.
The seventh frame started with a Jared Payne single in the bottom-half, giving CSU an important spark. Sam Low would then be called on to run for Payne at first with Austen Izzio stepping into the box as Charleston Southern was looking to grab a run with a ball in the gap. Izzio took it one step further, sending a bomb over the left field fence to give the Bucs their first lead of the game.
Casey Asman would continue the big seventh stanza with his second hit of the night, a double into left that was good enough to plate Peyton Basler and Connor Carter. Asman’s clutch hit gave the Bucs a 6-2 advantage.
Kaleb Hill (W, 4-4) gets the win for Charleston Southern after coming on in the third after the CSU starter Krishna Raj had to exit due to injury in the frame. Hill made the most of his appearance, dominating from start to finish with just a single earned run in the ninth across 6.1 innings of work. The lefty surrendered just six hits while amassing eight punchies. John Sendziak was called on to get the final out for the Bucs to pick up his first save of the season.
Joe Simeone (L, 5-5) gets charged with the loss after the two two-run homers, but taking those two hits away, the righty was equally as dominate as Hill. Simeone’s final line included seven hits and four earned on one walk and eight strikeouts.
“Wow! Kaleb was terrific giving us 6+ innings in relief & holding their offense to one run after being down early, said Head Coach Marc MacMillan. “Simeone is a competitor for them. I thought Coaches Lessler & Brittle did an excellent job with our hitters on how to approach him. In his last two outings, he had thrown 16 innings with 20 strikeouts and no walks. We got some big, timely hits from Mills, Waldschmidt, Payne, Izzio & Asman. So, we’ll enjoy it tonight, but we understand that we must come out prepared to compete tomorrow.”
Charleston Southern will return to Nielsen Field for game two with Gardner-Webb, as the first pitch is slated for 2:00 p.m. as part of a full day of events campus-wide.
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