Citadel rallies for split of baseball doubleheader with Western Carolina

CULLOWHEE, N.C. — Calvin Orth singled in Johnathan Stokes in the top of the ninth, and Stokes made a game-saving play in the bottom of the inning to help The Citadel rally from a four-run deficit for a 5-4 win over Western Carolina and a split of Saturday’s doubleheader.

The Catamounts won the opener, 5-4, on a walkoff-double by Aaron Attaway and took the series, 2-1. The Bulldogs (16-12, 5-4 Southern Conference) snapped a three-game losing streak in the nightcap. Western is 16-13 and 7-5 in the conference.

The Citadel returns to Riley Park on Tuesday at 6 p.m. against Coastal Carolina.

The teams will meet again the next night in Myrtle Beach.

In the second game, the Bulldogs trailed 4-0 before staging a late rally. Tyler Griffin hit a three-run homer to cut the lead to one in the seventh. In the eighth, Drew DeKerlegand doubled and scored on a two-out single by Thompson to tie the game.

Stokes walked to lead off the ninth and was sacrificed to second by pinch hitter Brett Bullard. Orth following with a base hit to right center off Catamount closer Preston Hatcher that chased home Stokes.

The Citadel survived a threat by Western in the bottom of the ninth. Danny Bermudez walked with one out and moved to second on a base hit by Attaway. Skylar Hunter came on and struck out Julian Ridings on three pitches before Tyler White stepped to the plate.

White hit a sharp grounder in the hole that Stokes fielded cleanly on the back hand. The Bulldog shortstop made a perfect throw to first to nip White by a step.

Austin Mason started for the Bulldogs and allowed three runs on five hits in the third, with four of the hits and all three runs coming with two out.

James Reeves settled things down on the mound for The Citadel, working the next 22/3 innings and allowing only one hit while striking out four. Zach Sherrill followed Rivera on the mound for one batter, giving up a single to Attaway before giving way to Hunter. Sherrill was appearing in his 10th straight game and 23rd on the year, the most of any pitcher in Division I baseball.

In the opener, The Citadel snapped a 3-3 tie in the seventh when Thompson hit a solo homer, his ninth of the season.

It stayed a one-run game until Jacob Hoyle lined a two-out pinch hit single just in front of the diving Hughston Armstrong in center off Rivera to drive in White with the tying run.

Logan Cribb worked the first five innings for The Citadel and overcame the shaky start to blank Western over his final three frames. He allowed seven hits, walked one and struck out five. Sherrill came in to start the seventh and worked one perfect inning before Rivera allowed a couple of hits and the tie run in the eighth.