CHARLESTON, SC - CHARLESTON, S.C. – Top-seeded and regular season champion The Citadel jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the second inning and never looked back en route to a 10-3 victory over No. 6 seed Western Carolina, clinching its eighth Southern Conference baseball tournament title.
A crowd of 4,895, the third-largest in tournament history, witnessed the championship game of the 2010 Bennett Hofford Southern Conference Baseball Championship presented by Carolina Ford Dealers at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park.
With the victory, The Citadel (42-20) earns the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Baseball Championship. The Bulldogs extended their win streak to 12 games, currently the second-longest in the nation. Western Carolina finishes the season 37-21-1.
Asher Wojciechowski (12-2) picked up the win for the Bulldogs after allowing three runs, two of which were earned, on seven hits. The senior struck out eight in eight innings of work.
Matt Benedict (4-1) suffered the loss for the Catamounts, pitching 4.1 innings. He surrendered 11 hits and gave up 10 runs, eight of which were earned, while fanning one batter.
Outfielder Nick Orvin and designated hitter Brad Felder both went 2-for-4 and added one RBI apiece. Shortstop Kyle Jordan hit 2-for-5. He combined with third baseman David Greene to drive in six runs.
WCU was led by shortstop Austin Schultz and second baseman Ross Heffley, who both hit 2-for-4. Outfielder Matt Johns and designated hitter Trevor Collias each had an RBI.
The Bulldogs opened up a 5-0 lead in the first, tallying five runs on five hits. Orvin led off with a double to left field. He was the first of five consecutive batters to register a hit.
The Citadel extended its advantage to 7-0 in the top of the second. A double by Jordan plated Matt Simonelli and Bryan Altman.
WCU put a run on the board in the bottom of the third. Schultz reached first on a fielding error by the second baseman and scored catcher Ollie Goulder.
In the top of the fourth, the Bulldogs added two more runs making the score 9-1. Jordan advanced to second and Altman to third on a throwing error by the shortstop. The two would then cross home plate on a single by Greene.
The Catamounts tacked pulled on run back in the bottom of fourth as Collias' sacrifice fly to right field scored Heffley.
Both teams tallied runs in the fifth. Orvin singled to left field to bring in William Ladd and give The Citadel a 10-2 lead. WCU responded in the bottom of the frame as Johns singled through the left side scoring fellow outfielder Dylan de Graaf.
After eight strong innings from Wojciechowski, who was working on three days' rest after pitching a complete game against Furman on Wednesday night, The Citadel brought in Drew Mahaffey in the bottom of the ninth. A wild pitch followed by a walk loaded the bases with two outs. Fred Jordan then turned to Chris Boyce to seal the win. With an 0-2 count, Boyce got Johns to fly out to Simonelli, ending the game and securing another title for the Bulldogs, their first since 2004.
The NCAA Baseball selection show will air live on ESPN Monday afternoon at 12:30 p.m. ET.
SP Asher Wojciechowski, The Citadel
SP Jimmy Reyes, Elon
RP Brandon Johnson, Western Carolina
C Ollie Goulder, Western Carolina
1B Justin Mackert, The Citadel
2B Wes Hobson, Appalachian State
SS Jamie Holler, College of Charleston
3B Hector Crespo, Appalachian State
OF Chris Alessandria, Appalachian State
OF William Ladd, The Citadel
OF Matt Johns, Western Carolina
DH Brad Felder, The Citadel
Tournament Most Outstanding Player, Walt Nadzak Award
Justin Mackert, The Citadel