CSU 9, UNC Asheville 1
ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Charleston Southern starter Tory Schroff worked into the eighth inning and closer Austin Weekley tied his own school record with his eighth save of the season to pitch the Buccaneers past UNC Asheville on Thursday night.
The Bucs won their Big South series opener for the second straight week to improve to 20-20 overall and 5-11 in the Big South. Asheville fell to 11-27 and 4-12 in league play. The two teams play again Friday at 7 p.m. at Greenwood Field.
Schroff scattered six hits and gave up just one earned run, firing quickly through the Bulldogs for 7 2/3 innings. Weekley came on with two outs and the tying run at first in the eighth to get Kyle Towles to ground into a fielder's choice to end the threat.
The Bucs exploded for five runs in the ninth to blow the game open. CSU head coach Stuart Lake liked the way his team finished the eighth and the game, crediting his pitchers for setting the tone.
"Tory (Schroff) came out and settled into what he's capable of doing," Lake said of his senior left-hander. "He threw a lot of first-pitch strikes. It made them have to swing, and he was able to get a lot of ground balls and good defense behind him."
Weekley matched his own record from a season ago with his eighth save. He has 16 career saves and is two shy of the CSU career mark. He also recorded the game's biggest out to give the Bucs their fourth win in five games.
"Austin's out in the eighth was the key to game," Lake said of his junior closer. "If they score there, it puts pressure on us. He comes in there and throws strikes to get the out we needed. I thought we came off the field very confident and that helped us put the game away."
The Bucs jumped on Asheville early and scored three runs in their first at-bat. Alex Tomasovich and Chase Shelton ripped back-to-back doubles off of Asheville starter Dean Roland (2-3) to make it 1-0. Cody Austin added an RBI single and Zack Hagaman raced home on an error by the centerfielder to give Schroff a 3-0 lead before he stepped on the mound.
Asheville leadoff man Tanner Bush tripled and scored to cut the lead to 3-1 for the Bulldogs in the first, but UNCA would get nothing else off of Schroff.
The Bucs got a run back in the fourth as Shelton reached with his second hit and scored on another RBI single from Austin, also his second of the night.
CSU added a slew of insurance runs in the ninth. Kevin Hickey drove home Austin Hicks with an RBI single to right. Hicks pinch-ran for Brian Welch, who reached on a throwing error. Nick Berry added an RBI single and Alex Tomasovich blew the game open with a two-run single back up the middle to push the lead to 9-1.
Shelton had a huge night for the Bucs, who outhit Asheville, 12-7. He was 4-for-5 with two RBIs and scored twice. Austin added a 2-for-4 night with two RBIs. Tomasovich and Bobby Ison each added two hits.