Bucs Clinch First Big South Championship Berth Since 2000 Behind Sendziak’s Brilliance; High Octane Offense
HIGH POINT, N.C. – Charleston Southern baseball took a no-no as a staff into the eighth frame and score in every inning but one to clinch a berth in the 2022 Ingles Big South Baseball Championship, marking the first appearance in the Championship game since 2000. The 11-4 victory at Truist Point was fueled by John Sendziak’s seven-plus innings of dominance on the hill.Charleston Southern (23-28) picked up right where they left off the previous day, plating three runs in the first frame Friday evening. Ajay Sczepkowski sparked the big frame with an absolute bomb to left in the second at-bat of the game. Hogan McIntosh would later come around to score on a wild pitch before Nick Rodriguez’s double down the line to right scored Ryan Waldschmidt. A fourth run came across in the second frame, as Austen Izzio used a ground ball to second to score Sam Low.
USC Upstate (35-21-1) found an answer in its half of the second, registering three runs without a hit. A wild pitch was responsible for the first run while two more runs came across with walks with the bases loaded. Connor Aldrich made the play of the tournament to get the Buccaneers out of the second, going arm-side at third to start a twin killer.
The Buccaneers followed the second with a run in the third, a run in the fourth and two in the fifth. In the third, an Aldrich sacrifice fly scored Waldschmidt while the fourth saw an Izzio single up the middle to plate Sczepkowski. It was the fifth that saw the two runs come across, as Aldrich’s single scored Rodriguez before a Connor Carter double returned the favor to Aldrich.
Tyrell Brewer came on in the seventh in pinch-hit form and was productive, scoring Hayden Harris with a sacrifice fly and the eighth featured McIntosh adding to the sacrifice fly count to score Sczepkowski. The Charleston Southern offense recorded doubles in five of the final six frames, speaking to the high octane offense the Bucs have displayed throughout the postseason.
USC Upstate recorded its first of two hits in the eighth, as Noah Myers hit a solo shot to left for the fourth run of the game for the Spartans. Charleston Southern matched the run with some insurance of its own in the ninth as Peyton Mills doubled on the line in right to score Rodriguez once more. John Sendziak (W, 1-1) recorded the win for Charleston Southern, coming on in the second and holding the Spartans to just two hits across 7.2 innings of work. Sendziak was the third pitcher used for Charleston Southern as the time he came on, but put things in his own hands, tossing an absolute gem of a game to fuel the Buccaneers while controlling the Spartan offense the whole night. Jacob Curry (L, 5-4) got the loss for USC Upstate after getting the start and going just one inning, being charged with four earned on four hits in 10 batters faced. Chase Matheny was charged with three earned and Al Holguin gave up one earned. Kevin Davis recorded the final two outs for USC Upstate out of the bullpen
“Another terrific team performance. John was outstanding in relief giving us 7+ innings. Aldy makes the web gem, play-of-the-game, in my opinion, to get us out of the 3rd inning when Upstate had some momentum,” said Head Coach Marc MacMillan. Offensively, Ajay puts us up early w/the solo home run, and the pack did exactly what it’s built and designed to do. It’s a quick turnaround for us tomorrow. So, we enjoy it tonight and come back out to tomorrow ready to have fun and compete.”
UP NEXTCharleston Southern earns a berth in the 2022 Ingles Big South Baseball Championships Saturday evening, broadcasted nationally, with the win as they await the winner of the final elimination game. First pitch is slated for 12:00 p.m. Saturday, May 28 at Truist Point.
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