College of Charleston beats No. 17 North Carolina, 3-1, to take series
The city of Charleston just hasn't been very hospitable to University of North Carolina athletic teams in the past few years.
In 2010, the Cougars upset then-No. 9 North Carolina, 82-79, at TD Arena in basketball.
The Cougars defeated No. 17 North Carolina, 3-1, Monday afternoon in baseball at Patriots Point to take two of three games from the nationally ranked Tar Heels.
The Cougars opened the three-game series Saturday with a 7-4 victory over the Tar Heels. North Carolina, which advanced to the College World Series in 2013, took the second game, 12-3, on Sunday.
The series win over the 17th-ranked Tar Heels marks the highest-ranked team that the College of Charleston has defeated in a weekend series. The Cougars defeated No. 30 South Alabama and No. 30 ECU in weekend series in 2012 and 2005, respectively.
"Obviously, I'm really proud of the way we came out and competed all weekend against a really good North Carolina team," said College of Charleston coach Monte Lee. "I hope this gives us some confidence as we go forward."
It was a combination of strong starting pitching, solid defense and timely hitting that propelled the Cougars past the Tar Heels during the three-game series. Charleston fell behind in both wins over the weekend, using a two-run fifth inning on Monday and five-run sixth inning on Saturday to come back and win. The Cougars also turned three double plays in Monday's game, with two coming on bases-loaded, one-out situations.
"Our defense got us out of a few jams," Lee said. "Nick Pappas, one of our freshman, really made some nice plays at first base. Overall, I thought everyone played well defensively. We made the routine plays we had to make to beat a team as good as North Carolina."
Lee wasn't sure what to expect from a young, untested pitching staff. The Cougars lost more than 70 percent of the innings pitched from a year ago. Sophomore Eric Bauer and freshman Hayden McCutcheon each made career debuts on Monday, tallying a win and save. Freshman Bailey Ober picked up Saturday's win in his first career appearance.
"We didn't know what to expect out of our young pitching staff," Lee said. "We felt like positionally we were going to be OK, but we didn't know what to expect on the mound. I'm really proud of how they all came out and competed."
Sophomore Blake Butler was CofC's top position player on the weekend. The second baseman hit .385 with three runs and an RBI triple. He also made 13 assists, eight putouts and turned two double plays.
"Blake played well all weekend," Lee said.
College of Charleston will face Charleston Southern Wednesday afternoon at 4 p.m. The game was originally scheduled for Tuesday, but moved after the series with the Tar Heels had to be moved to the Lowcountry because of wintry weather in North Carolina.