Rally Falls Short as The Citadel Drops Season Opener 6-5 to Towson

CHARLESTON, SC - Freshman SS Bailey Rush went 3-for-3 in his collegiate debut and sophomore 3B Drew DeKerlegand had a pair of doubles, but The Citadel was unable to overcome a 5-0 deficit and fell 6-5 to Towson University in the 2012 baseball season opener at The Citadel Memorial Challenge presented by the Charleston Crab House Friday night at Riley Park. The Bulldogs return to action Saturday afternoon as they host Richmond at 1:00 p.m.

After falling behind 2-0 after three innings and 5-0 heading to the bottom of the sixth, the Bulldogs' offense kicked into gear, scoring three times in the bottom of the sixth to cut the Towson advantage to 5-3. Rush led off the sixth with a double to right center and advanced to third on a ground out to second by freshman 2B Mason Davis. A sacrifice fly to left by sophomore C Joe Jackson plated Rush for the Bulldogs' first run of the game and senior CF Nick Orvin followed with a single to third. After stealing second, Orvin raced home on a RBI double to center by fellow senior Justin Mackert. DeKerlegand knocked his first two-bagger of the evening to the gap in right center to plate Mackert.

The two clubs would trade single runs in the eighth inning as Towson pushed across a run on a RBI single by Hunter Bennett and The Citadel used a pair of base hits to manufacture another score. With one out, DeKerlegand doubled down the left-field line and freshman Hayden Hendry drilled a RBI single to center to bring home the sophomore from second.

In the ninth, the Bulldogs trailed 6-4 and mounted a rally to put them within grasp of the win. Rush led off the stanza with a full-count walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch by Brandon Gonnella during a strikeout of Davis. Jackson came through with a RBI triple that painted the right-field line to cut the Bulldogs' deficit to one and put the tying run on third. However, Jackson would end up stranded 90 feet away as Gonnella struck out Orvin and Mackert to end the threat and the game.

Gonnella earned the save for Towson, allowing two runs on three hits in three innings of relief with six strikeouts. Michael Trionfo picked up the win, scattering five hits and three runs over 5-2/3 innings. Junior Austin Pritcher took the loss for the Bulldogs, allowing five runs on 10 hits in 5-2/3 innings. Pritcher struck out five and walked two on the evening.