Connor Walsh singled in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth, and Clay Martin provided late-game defensive and offensive heroics in The Citadel’s 4-3 victory over Wofford on Saturday, evening the Southern Conference series at a game apiece.
The Bulldogs improved to 16-17 and 2-6 in the SoCon, while the Terriers dropped to 26-12 and 4-4 in the league. The rubber game of the series at Riley Park is Sunday at 1 p.m.
With the game tied at 3, Martin singled to lead off the bottom of the ninth off Spencer Kulman (5-2), and Terrier closer Will Stillman hit Johnathan Stokes and walked Drew Ellis to load the bases with one out. Walsh followed by grounding a single to right through a drawn-in infield to bring home Martin with the decisive run.
Wofford tied the game with a run in the top of the ninth against eventual winning pitcher Skylar Hunter (2-4), but Martin prevented it from being an even bigger inning. With runners at second and third and one out, Alec Paradowski hit a drive into the gap in right center that appeared ticketed for extra bases.
But Martin made a sensational diving catch on the warning track and had the presence of mind to flip the ball to right fielder Walsh. Walsh fired it in to Bret Hines, whose relay to Ryan Kilgallen nailed Derek Hirsch at the plate trying to score all the way from second and hold the play to just a dramatic sacrifice fly.
William Kinney tied the game at 2 in the seventh with his second home run of the week, a shot to left-center that bounced off the glove of James Plaisted and snuck over the wall. One out later, Martin chopped a double down the right-field line and scored on an RBI single by Stokes to put The Citadel in front 3-2.
JP Sears worked the first 5 1/3 innings for the Bulldogs and allowed six hits and two runs while tying his season high with eight strikeouts. Zach Sherrill relieved Sears in the sixth and worked out of a second and third, one-out jam before Hunter went the final three innings.
The appearance for Sherrill was the 131st of his career, just four shy of The Citadel school record held by Raymond Copenhaver. Sherrill also ranks second among active Division I pitchers in that category, trailing only UCLA’s David Berg.
Luke Leftwich started for the Terriers and gave up eight hits and three runs with eight punchouts in 6 2/3 innings.
Mack Nathanson slugged his fourth home run of the year to give Wofford a 1-0 lead in the second, and Stokes had his first RBI of the game with a single in the third. It stayed a 1-1 contest until the sixth when Wofford went ahead on a leadoff double by Matt Ramsay and a single by Plaisted.
Charleston Southern’s Evan Raynor shook off a 90-minute rain delay to toss a complete game and lift the Buccaneers to a 3-1 win over Gardner-Webb on a throwback Saturday at CSU Ballpark.
CSU (15-18, 5-6 Big South) clinched the series over G-W (17-18, 5-9) with the win. The series finale is Sunday at 2 p.m.
Both pitchers overcame a rain delay in the second inning to control the game. Raynor (4-3) fired his second complete game in Big South play. He surrendered just five hits and allowed his only run in the first inning, over three hours — counting the rain delay — before the game ended.
Fittingly, with CSU wearing throwback Baptist College uniforms, the dominant starting pitching reminded Bucs’ head coach Stuart Lake of his college days.
“This looked like a college baseball game from the ‘90s, with both pitchers really in control and competing,” Lake said. “It wasn’t really fun to watch until it was over, because you’re nervous as a coach, but those two (pitchers) were fun to watch. For Raynor, to not give up anything after the delay, that’s just really tough to do.”
The Bucs have put together three of their most complete efforts of the season in the last four days. Lake likes the direction h is team is heading, but also knows to take some time to enjoy Saturday’s win.
“I feel like we are (gaining confidence),” Lake added. “You know how confidence is. It can make you a different team, and we’re feeding off of it right now. Today was a fun day. To have Dr. (Jairy) Hunter here to throw out the first pitch and to put the (throwback) uniforms on ... it was cool for our guys to be a part of the history of CSU and to get a win tops it off.”
Raynor was part of the story on Saturday, but Gardner-Webb starter Matt Fraudin (4-3) matched the Bucs’ starter out for out after the third inning. The Bulldogs’ senior had 11 strikeouts and allowed only six hits, walking only one.
Trailing 1-0, CSU used its speed and some small ball to get the offense going in the third.
Brandon Burris reached on a bunt single, dancing just past the tag at first base to start the big inning for the Bucs. Nate Blanchard followed with a backside single and Sam Remick reached on an infield hit to load the bases. CSU scored its first run on a bases loaded walk by Andrew Widell and Chase Shelton gave the Bucs their first lead. Shelton scored Burris and Blanchard with a two-out, two-run single to left to give the Bucs a 3-1 lead.
Gardner-Webb grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first on Raynor, his only blemish of the day. Tyler Best singled to lead off the game, stole second and raced home on an RBI by Ryan Hodge.
Shelton was 1-for-3 with the two RBIs. He also had a very loud fly out in the sixth, pushing G-W centerfielder Henry Rundio to the warning track.
Hodge was 2-for-4 with an RBI to lead G-W.
MOUNT PLEASANT — College of Charleston suffered a 4-1 loss to Elon in Colonial Athletic Association competition at Patriots Point on Saturday, snapping a nine-game winning streak and inheriting its first loss in CAA play this season.
After a convincing win in the series opener on Friday night, which capped the Cougars’ best 30-game start in nine seasons, Elon starter Michael Elefante solved the Cougar bats and held CofC to one run on seven hits to even the series on Saturday.
The teams will play a series-decisive rubber game on Sunday, with first pitch slated for 1 p.m.
Charleston (23-8, 10-1 CAA) registered six of its seven hits from three players: Blake Butler, Nick Pappas and Erven Roper, who all went 2-for-4 in the affair. Alex Pastorius went 1-for-4 and accounted for CofC’s lone RBI when he brought Champ Rowland around to score in the third inning.
Brandon Glazer (6-1) was tagged with his first loss of his season despite pitching effectively for the majority of his 6.0 innings on the hill, but was plagued by a three-run third inning. Nathan Helvey pitched 2.0 innings without allowing a baserunner, and Carter Love pitched the ninth after an hour and 23-minute weather delay segmented the eighth inning.
“You have to give Elon a lot of credit,” said head coach Monte Lee. “Their starting pitcher did a really nice job and gave them a quality start, and their bullpen was really good as well. Their pitching staff really did a nice job today overall. They threw up a big inning in the third and capitalized on a couple of free passes we allowed them, but outside of that one inning, Brandon Glazer threw well. Our bullpen did a nice job as well. Our offense has been amazing all year, but their pitching staff did a nice job against us and they won the ball game.”
Elon mounted its first lead of the series with a run in the second, after the Cougars were held scoreless in the first inning for the first time in six games.
The Phoenix padded the lead in the third, starting the inning with a triple by Nick Zammarelli and RBI single by Casey Jones, followed by a two-run bomb by Ryan Cooper which put the Cougars in a 4-0 hole.
Charleston chipped away in the bottom half of the inning after Roper singled up the middle to start the inning, and Pastorius eventually delivered the run with a two-out, full-count RBI single to right field.
That would account for the game’s only scoring, as the Cougars stranded a runner in the fourth inning and brought the tying run to the plate in the sixth, but couldn’t cash in. Charleston put a runner on base in each of the last three innings as well, but finished the game 2-for-16 (.125) with runners on base, accounting for eight stranded runners.
“We just have to be ready to go tomorrow,” said Lee. “That’s the big thing. We just have to find a way to win the series. It doesn’t matter if it’s high scoring, low scoring; we just have to find a way to win a game tomorrow and win the series. That was the message after today: Find a way to win.”
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — South Carolina senior first baseman Kyle Martin hit for the cycle, but 10th-ranked Florida belted out 13 hits on the way to a win over the Gamecocks on Saturday night at McKethan Stadium.
Florida is now 27-9 and 8-6 in the SEC, with South Carolina now 23-13 and 6-8 in league play.
Martin became the first Gamecock since Brendan Winn to hit for the cycle, which occurred Feb. 14, 2004, against Charleston Southern. Martin reached base in all five plate appearances going 4-for-4 with a walk. He is now hitting .386 for the year with a .472 average (25-for-53) in 14 SEC games.
Martin gave the Gamecocks a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning with a two-run homer. After Max Schrock’s one-out single, Martin crushed a 1-2 pitch from UF starter Dane Dunning over the center-field wall.
Florida batted around in the second inning to score four runs and take a two-run lead. The Gators caught a break with one out as Josh Tobias struck out but reached first base on a wild pitch. After JJ Schwarz walked, Buddy Reed singled to center field to score Tobias. With two outs and runners on first and second, Ryan Larson knocked a RBI single to tie the game. After Dalton Guthrie’s walk, Richie Martin drove in a pair of runs with a single up the middle to give Florida a 4-2 lead.
The Gators extended the lead to 7-2 in the bottom of the fourth. With two outs, Larson singled up the middle and Guthrie reached base on an infield single. That set the stage for Richie Martin, who knocked a 1-0 pitch over the left-centerfield wall for a homer, his third of the season. The Gators added two more in the sixth inning and one in the seventh including a RBI double from Martin.
South Carolina got a pair of runs back in the eighth inning. Jordan Gore led off with a single to center and Madison Stokes doubled off the wall in right field. Both would score on DC Arendas’ two-run single up the middle. Florida added two more runs in the bottom half of the eighth with Harrison Bader completing Florida’s scoring with his 10th homer of the year.
With two outs in the top of the ninth, Kyle Martin tripled down the left-field line to complete the cycle. He then scored on Elliott Caldwell’s RBI base hit up the middle.
The Gamecocks finished with 11 hits at the plate with seven of nine starters with at least one hit. Richie Martin was 3-for-5 with six RBIs to lead Florida. Guthrie, Bader, Tobias and Larson had two hits apiece as well for the Gators.
CHESTNUT HILL, MASS. — Blake Butera’s two-out single in the eighth inning scored Johnny Adams to break a 7-7 tie in Boston College’s win over Clemson at Commander Shea Field on Saturday.
The Eagles, who evened the series 1-1, improved to 16-17 overall and 6-10 in the ACC. The Tigers dropped to 17-18 overall and 8-9 in ACC play. Each of Clemson’s last five losses has been by one run.
With the Tigers trailing 4-1, Chris Okey belted a solo homer in the fifth inning before homers by Steven Duggar and Okey in the top of the sixth inning gave Clemson a 5-4 lead. After the Eagles tied the score with a run in the bottom of the sixth inning, Eli White and Duggar lofted sacrifice flies in the top of the seventh inning to give Clemson a two-run lead. The Eagles responded again with Stephen Sauter’s two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh inning to tie the score before Butera’s go-ahead, run-scoring single in the eighth inning.
Justin Dunn (4-2) earned the win by pitching 2.2 innings in relief. Jesse Adams recorded the last three outs to register his first save of the year. Tiger reliever Taylor Vetzel (1-2) suffered the loss.
The series concludes Sunday at noon.