CHARLESTON, SC - Johnathan Stokes snapped a seventh-inning tie with a two-run homer, sparking a five-run frame that carried The Citadel to an 11-8 victory over Elon on Saturday at Riley Park.
The win evened the weekend series and sets up the rubber game on Sunday at 1 p.m. The contest can be seen free of charge on the SoCon Digital Network.
The Bulldogs (6-7) used a 14-hit attack to snap a three-game losing streak. Five of those hits came in the decisive seventh, including the home run by Stokes that snuck just inside the right field foul pole. Philip Watcher, pinch hitting for brother Jacob, delivered a two-run single, and William Kinney added a sacrifice fly.
Jason Smith, who started the seventh with a single, had a career-high four hits and scored four times, while Stephen Windham continued his hot hitting with four singles to raise his batting average to a team-leading .387. Stokes also had a double in addition to his first round tripper of the year, scored three times and drove in three.
The Citadel added a run in the eighth before sweating out the ninth. Elon scored twice and had the bases loaded with nobody out when Skylar Hunter was able to get a strikeout and a pair of ground outs to end the threat. The save was Hunter's fourth of the season and 32nd of his career, moving the junior closer within five of breaking the Southern Conference record held by Elon's Thomas Girdwood.
Ross White worked a one-hit, scoreless seventh and picked up his second career win. Lucas Bakker, who was Elon's Friday starter a year ago, gave up six hits and all six runs in the seventh and took the loss, dropping to 1-3.
Austin Mason started for the Bulldogs and gave up four runs (two earned) in three innings and left with The Citadel leading 5-4. Austin Livingston followed on the hill and went the next three frames, giving up just three hits and one run with no walks and four strikeouts.
A fielder's choice grounder by Connor Walsh and RBI single by Windham gave the Bulldogs a quick 2-0 lead in the first. Elon went in front with four in the second, but The Citadel answered right back with three runs in its half of the inning, including a run-scoring double by Stokes and sacrifice fly by Austin Mapes to go back ahead 5-4.