CHARLESTON, SC - Freshman left-hander JP Sears tossed six innings of four-hit ball and struck out a season-high eight to give The Citadel a 3-1 win over Lafayette in the opener of a three-game series on Friday at Riley Park.
Game two has been rescheduled for Saturday at 11 a.m. due to the threat of rain later in the day and can be seen live on the SoCon Digital Network. The series finale is still set for Sunday at 1 p.m.
Sears walked only one, picked up his team-leading third win of the year while lowering his ERA to 2.74 and in the process eclipsed his previous high of seven strikeouts which came against Elon last week. The Leopards reached him for their only run in the fourth on a single and two wild pitches to tie the game at 1.
The Bulldogs, winners of three in a row to move back over .500 at 8-7, snapped the deadlock in the fifth when Stephen Windham walked with two outs and scored on a perfectly placed opposite field double down the left field line by Drew Ellis.
Zach Lavery worked the seventh before Skylar Hunter went the final two innings for his sixth save of the year and 34th of his career, just three away from matching the Southern Conference record. Hunter walked the first batter he faced, but Drew Aherne was caught stealing and two strikeouts ended the inning.
Hunter issued another walk with two outs in the ninth but did not allow the runner to advance past first base to close out the Leopards (1-4).
The Citadel wasted opportunities to build an early lead against Lafayette starter David Bednar. Bednar walked three but did not allow a run in the first. Philip Watcher singled and Bailey Rush doubled to lead off the second, but only one run crossed on a ground out by Johnathan Stokes.