Bobby Ison and Robby Streett opened the game with home runs and Charleston Southern held off a late comeback from The Citadel in an 8-6 win Wednesday afternoon at CSU Ballpark.
The Bulldogs (4-4) nearly battled back from a seven-run deficit before losing their third straight game.
CSU grabbed its sizable lead in the first inning as Ison drilled the third pitch he saw from Citadel starter Nate Brecklin (0-1) over the fence in right center. Five batters later, Streett belted his first homer of the season. His three-run shot to left center scored Chase Shelton and Alex Tomasovich, giving the Buccaneers (5-3) a 6-0 lead.
“When you play these crosstown rivals, you always want to play well,” said CSU coach Stuart Lake. “Defensively, with Chase (Shelton) opening the game with the running catch on the wet turf, and then Bobby (Ison) leading off with the home run, it just gives the team confidence that you can relax and just play baseball.”
CSU made it 7-0 in the third inning on Cody Austin’s sacrifice fly.
The Bulldogs (4-4) got their only run off starter Tory Schroff (2-0) in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Bo Thompson.
The Citadel’s rally gained steam in the sixth. A fielder’s choice grounder off the bat of Tyler Griffin scored one run, then another scored on a pinch-hit double by Drew DeKerlegand. With two outs, Johnathan Stokes had a two-run single to cut it to 7-5.
Three walks and a wild pitch cut the lead to 7-6 in the seventh, but the Bulldogs could not get a big hit with runners on second and third and one out as Zack Hagaman worked out of a jam.
The Bucs added a run in the eighth as Jaren Sustar scored on a wild pitch, making it 8-6.
Austin Weekley went the final 12/3 innings for CSU, striking out two, to close the door and earn his first save of the season.
Charleston Southern is at North Florida on Friday.
The Citadel hosts the Charleston Crab House Shootout this weekend. The Bulldogs play Pittsburgh at 4 p.m. Friday.
Schroff (2-0) went five innings, striking out seven, while scattering four hits and one run.
Ison, Sustar, Shelton and Drew Woodall had two hits apiece for the Buccaneers, with Sustar and Shelton both scoring twice. Streett led the team with three RBIs.
Jason Smith, Joe Jackson and Johnathan Stokes had two hits apiece for The Citadel, with Stokes driving in two.
Logan Cribb tossed 31/3 innings of one-hit shutout relief for the Bulldogs’ bullpen, which kept the team in the game.
The Bulldogs and Bucs play a three-game series March 22-24, with the first and third games at Riley Park.
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