The College of Charleston enters this weekend's CofC Tournament with plenty of confidence coming off a three-game winning streak that featured two straight victories over crosstown rival The Citadel.
CofC Baseball Tournament
What: CofC Baseball Tournament
Where: Patriots Point
Friday schedule: Noon - Appalachian State vs. Michigan
4 p.m. - College of Charleston vs. Kent State
The Cougars (13-2) will take on Kent State (7-6) at 4 p.m. at Patriots Point. Appalachian State (4-13) will open the three-day event against Michigan (6-10-1) at noon.
"We are very excited to have three solid programs coming down here for this weekend's tournament," said College of Charleston coach Monte Lee, who notched his 200th win on Tuesday against Jacksonville. "Kent State was a College World Series Cinderella story back in 2012, while Appalachian State was an NCAA at-large team that year as well. Michigan is always a competitive program in the Big 10."
Cougars freshman Bailey Ober is the reigning Colonial Athletic Association pitcher of the week after tossing a two-hit, complete-game shutout of the Bulldogs on Monday night, marking the Cougars first complete-game shutout since 2010. Ober is part of a remarkable group of new pitchers that defied expectations through the season's first four weeks.
Ober has combined with Chase Henry, Taylor Clarke, Hayden McCutcheon, Eric Bauer and Tyler Thornton to post an 11-2 record with an ERA of 2.04 in 31 combined appearances. The group has struck out 87 batters and walked only 17.
"This weekend will obviously be a big test for our pitching depth after a short week, but we are confident in the arms that we are throwing out there," Lee said. "Our starters and bullpen have been very solid this year, and we have been playing great defense and making plays behind them."
Kent State is currently 7-6 and has yet to play a home game, going 5-6 on the road and 2-0 in neutral sites. The Golden Flashes have yet to hit a home run this season. They sport a team ERA of 5.15 and average 5.3 runs per game. Their early season includes a tournament sweep of Winthrop and Coppin State at Winthrop and a series win (two of three) at Middle Tennessee State. They lost two of three to open the season at Arizona.
The Wolverines are hitting .245 as a team and averaging just 3.8 runs per game while posting a 3.40 team ERA. Michigan's only wins have come against Air Force, Notre Dame, Florida Gulf Coast, Central Florida and Princeton.
The Mountaineers have played a tough schedule to start the season, facing the likes of Arkansas, N.C. State, North Carolina and Tennessee. The Mountaineers started the season 0-8 and have won just four times in 14 games. ASU is hitting just .210 with top hitter Dillon Dobson sporting a .306 average with 10 RBIs. The team ERA is 4.62.
The Citadel, picked to finish second in the Southern Conference this season, opens league play this weekend with a series at Davidson.
The Bulldogs are 8-9 in pre-conference play, coming off a 9-8 victory over USC Upstate on Wednesday.
Second baseman Mason Davis and centerfielder Hughston Armstrong, the top two hitters in the order, are batting .338 and .355, respectively. Bo Thompson and Tyler Griffin lead the club in runs batted-in with 18 and 13, respectively.
The Citadel will start Logan Cribb (1-1, 4.76 ERA) and James Reeves (2-1, 3.38) in the first two games.
Davidson is 7-6 and has won four straight games, two over Massachusetts and two over North Carolina A&T. Nathan Becker is batting .321 with six homers and 19 RBIs, and Ben Arkin leads the SoCon with a .424 batting average.