Payne’s Walk-Off Single in the 10th Pushes Bucs Over Air Force

Published: Mar. 5, 2023 at 8:54 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. – Jared Payne’s walk-off single in the extra frame lifted Charleston Southern over Air Force Sunday afternoon as the Bucs capped the weekend with the 7-6 victory at Nielsen Field on Military Appreciation Weekend.

Air Force (3-9) was the first to score, as the first run of the contest came in the second frame even though there was not a hit recorded. Trayden Tamiya’s grounder to second was enough to score Chase Spencer after he reached on a free pass to give the Falcons the 1-0 lead.

Charleston Southern (4-8) would wait until the fifth stanza to come up with an answer, as James Jett would make the most of a pinch-hit opportunity, scoring Chandler Tuupo on a single through the left side of the infield with two outs to knot things up at one. The Bucs weren’t done in the inning, as Connor Aldrich swiped second and forced an errant throw that allowed JC Agard to come across and the Bucs would take a 2-1 lead.

The Falcons would answer right back, even though they were held hitless until the fifth, in the sixth as Aerik Joe’s single up the middle was enough to score Tamiya to tie things up at 2-2. The contest would stay that way until the home-half of the seventh.

Aldrich again answered the call in the seventh for the Buccaneers as he ambushed a fastball down the line to left for a go-ahead solo shot, his first of the year. Jaylin Rae would then answer in the eighth with a solo shot of his own to double the CSU advantage with Air Force down its final three outs.

The ninth is where things would get interesting, as Air Force was down to its final two outs before a Charleston Southern miscue allowed the Falcons to come up clutch as a Thomason double would tie things at four, apiece. Air Force wasn’t done in the frame, though, as a single to left with two outs from T.J. Oster would put them up one.

The Buccaneers then found themselves down to their final out before Ike George sparked a rally with a double down the line in right. Ashton Wilson then found himself in the box and a ball on the infield misplayed by Air Force allowed George to score and force free baseball.

The tenth saw Air Force again take the lead with two outs as a Bello pinch-hit single on the first pitch of the at bat scored Joe and again gave CSU just three outs to answer but answering is just what they would do.

Tuppo opened the extra frame just missing a home run by a matter of feet before Agard singled into left field. Bryce Brock would then walk before an Aldrich double to center would score Agard and put Brock 90 feet away as he represented the winning run. Jared Payne, a defensive replacement from the previous inning, wasted no time playing hero to follow, roping a ball to right center on the first pitch to score Brock and walk it off for the Bucs.

Kaleb Hill (W, 1-1) takes the win for Charleston Southern, as the southpaw was stellar out of the bullpen. His final line read four complete, giving up just one earned on five hits and eight punchies. Sam Massey got the start for the Bucs and he looked strong as well, tossing three frames without surrendering a hit. Zac Robinson recorded the other nine outs for CSU in dominate fashion as well, giving up just one earned on four hits and three strikeouts.

Zach Peters (L, 0-2) was credited the loss after giving up three earned on six hits across the final seven outs. Seungmin Shim got the no decision for the Falcons as he tossed five strong frames while being charged with just one earned on five hits. Sawyer Hawks tossed the two other frames, giving up one earned on four hits.