After watching his team score just 10 runs in three games against Samford last weekend, Citadel baseball coach Fred Jordan gathered his players for a Sunday afternoon sermon in right field at Riley Park.
"He told just that we were pressing a little bit," Bulldogs second baseman Mason Davis said. "He told us to relax and do what we know how to do - get hits, put runs on the board and play defense."
The Bulldogs did exactly that in two mid-week games, blasting Charleston Southern 10-3 on Wednesday to follow up Tuesday's 12-4 victory over Coastal Carolina.
In the two games, The Citadel (12-14) totaled 22 runs on 31 hits and raised its team batting average from .266 on Sunday to .279. For the second day in a row, every Citadel starter had at least one hit.
Davis had three hits and drove in two runs against CSU (15-12), and Bo Thompson hit his sixth home run and also drove in two runs. Tyler Griffin had two RBIs and Drew DeKerlegand tied his career high with four hits, including a triple, as the Bulldogs scored seven runs in the first three innings.
The Bulldogs, picked to finish second in the Southern Conference, are off to a 1-5 start in league play after getting swept at Davidson and losing two of three to Samford. They are at Elon (14-9, 3-3) this weekend, and The Citadel needs to finish in the league's top six to avoid the single-elimination "play-in games" for the bottom four seeds at the SoCon tournament set for May 20-25 at Riley Park.
"We've played pretty consistent baseball the last two days," Jordan said. "Now, we'll see what happens on the weekend. We've dug ourselves a hole, but we've got a mature group and hopefully they will respond."
Davis, a junior from Conyers, Ga., did his part to help the Bulldogs respond against Coastal Carolina and Charleston Southern. He led off both games with hits and came around to score both times as The Citadel scored six runs in the first inning against CCU and four in the first frame against CSU.
In both games, the Bulldogs chased the starting pitcher before the first inning was over. In the two games, Davis went 5 of 10 with three RBIs and two runs scored to raise his average to a team-best .343.
"Mason can flash the leather and play great defense," Jordan said. "Offensively, he's finally buying in that speed shows up every day. A walk to him can be a double and triple. He's a little more patient and right now is off to a pretty good start."
A two-run double by Griffin and RBI single from Johnathan Stokes in the first chased CSU starter Tyler Pickard (0-1), a freshman making his first career start. Calvin Orth, Bailey Rush and Davis delivered RBI singles in the third for a 7-1 lead. Austin Livingston (1-3), the first of six Citadel pitchers, worked four innings for the win.
For CSU, third baseman Alex Tomasovich was 3 of 5, hit his second homer and extended his hitting streak to 20 games, second-best in the nation.
The Bucs, 1-5 in the Big South, are at Coastal Carolina this weekend.
"We're just struggling right now," said Bucs coach Stuart Lake. "We've got to play better than we have been."
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