MOUNT PLEASANT — College of Charleston baseball won its fifth straight game and ninth in its last 10 tries with an 8-0 victory over Hofstra in the first of a three-game Colonial Athletic Association series Friday night at Patriots Point.
Charleston (19-7, 7-0 CAA) remained unbeaten in league play by outhitting Hofstra, 13-6, eclipsing double-digit hits for the fourth time in five games.
Junior ace Taylor Clarke (5-1, 1.69 ERA on the season) offered yet another quality start, dealing 7.0 scoreless innings in which he scattered four hits and didn’t allow a walk. Clarke put seven hitters down on strikes after entering the game ranked second nationally in strikeouts this season.
Will Detwiler and Carter Love combined in relief, each throwing an inning to preserve the Cougars’ second shutout in as many games.
Offensively, Bradley Jones homered to straight-away center for the second consecutive game and finished 3-for-4, a triple short of the cycle. Carl Wise was 3-for-4 with an RBI as well, while Blake Butler and Nick Pappas sprung for multiple RBIs (two and three, respectively).
The Cougars pounced on the Pride right away, recording hits in their first five plate appearances as part of a five-run first inning. Ryan Brown led off with a single up the middle; Alex Pastorius singled to left, and Carl Wise singled through the left side on an 0-2 pitch for his league-best 39th RBI of the season. Butler then doubled to the corner and left, and Pappas singled to right with two runners in scoring position to give CofC a 4-0 lead before Hofstra recorded an out. Pappas would eventually score an RBI bounce out by Erven Roper, putting CofC up 5-0 in the first.
The College turned the lineup over for Brown to lead off again in the second, and after he was hit by a pitch, he came around to score on singles by Wise and Butler.
Hofstra’s Adam Heidenfelder came on in early relief of starter Chris Bonk (2-3) after the inauspicious first inning and pitched effectively for 7.0 innings, but the damage was already done.
Jones homered to dead center with a full count after a six-pitch at bat in the fifth to push the score to 8-0, the eventual final.
“We had a big first inning with five runs and seven quality at bats the first time through the order,” said head coach Monte Lee. “We came out scoring in the first, and then we threw the ball extremely well. We only gave up two free passes — one walk and one hit by pitch. Defensively, we were pretty solid, but the key was that we pitched well and we swung the bats well. It was a good job by our team to go out and win game one.”
Game two of the series is set for Saturday afternoon with a 3 p.m. start.
CLEMSON — Matthew Crownover allowed two unearned runs with eight strikeouts in 7.0 innings pitched to lead Clemson over North Carolina on Friday night at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
Crownover (5-1) earned the win by allowing seven hits, no earned runs and two walks with eight strikeouts in 7.0 innings pitched. Taylor Vetzel pitched the final 2.0 innings to record his first save as a Tiger. Tar Heel starter Zac Gallen (1-2) suffered the loss, as he gave up eight hits, five runs (three earned) and two walks with five strikeouts in 6.2 innings pitched.
The Tigers (15-14, 6-7 ACC) jumped on North Carolina (17-12, 6-7) with two first-inning runs on back-to-back, run-scoring doubles by Reed Rohlman and Chris Okey. The Tigers took a 5-0 lead in the third inning thanks to a Tar Heel error and a two-run double by Chase Pinder. North Carolina rallied with two unearned runs after a costly Tiger error in the seventh inning, but the Tar Heels could get no closer.
The series continues at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.
Mercer bunched together nine hits and all four of its runs in the middle innings to squeeze out a victory over The Citadel on Friday at Riley Park, evening the Southern Conference series at a game apiece.
The Bulldogs (15-14, 1-4 SoCon) took a 2-0 lead in the second off Mercer starter Grant Papelian on an RBI double by William Kinney and run-scoring single by Jacob Watcher. But The Citadel was limited to only one run the rest of the way, that coming on a Drew Ellis solo homer leading off the bottom of the sixth.
By that time, the Bears (19-13, 6-2) had built a 4-2 lead. Trey Truitt singled in a run in the fourth for Mercer’s first run of the series, and Jackson Ware produced the tying run with a double in the fifth.
A groundout with runners at second and third and nobody out in the sixth gave the Bears the lead, and a single by Matt Meeder pushed the Mercer advantage to two runs with an RBI single.
The Ellis homer was his sixth of the season and cut The Citadel deficit in half. Jason Smith singled with two outs in the inning to extend his streak of reaching base to 20 straight games, and the Bulldogs also got base hits in the seventh and ninth but were unable to push across the tying run.
JP Sears worked into the sixth and was charged with the loss, dropping to 4-3 on the year. The freshman lefty allowed 10 hits and all four runs while striking out seven. Austin Mason took over in the seventh and allowed one hit with four strikeouts in three shutout innings.
One night after James Reeves threw a no-hitter against Mercer, the Bears quickly made sure it wouldn’t happen again when Meeder doubled off Sears on the first pitch of the game.
Papelian, the reigning SoCon Pitcher of the Week, went six innings and earned the victory to move to 4-1. He allowed six hits and three runs, walked three and fanned three. Dimitri Kourtis got the last four outs for his second save.
The teams play the rubber game at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Liberty’s Jared Lyons pitched eight scoreless innings to lift the Flames over Charleston Southern on Friday night at CSU Ballpark.
Lyons (5-0) struck out nine Buccaneers, walking only one, and Ashton Perritt was 4-for-5 with a two-run home run to fuel the win for the Flames.
The Flames outhit CSU, 15-5.
Liberty (20-10, 6-2 Big South) jumped to a 2-0 lead in the second on Bucs’ starter Evan Raynor (2-3). Andrew Yacyk started the innings for the Flames with a leadoff single. Ashton Perritt and Will Shepherd followed with RBI singles to plate the game’s first runs. CSU left fielder Sly Edwards nearly took away a run with a diving attempt at Perritt’s pop-up, but couldn’t come up with the grab on the left-field line.
Raynor worked seven innings, striking out eight, but giving up four earned runs and four walks. Perritt’s two-run home run in the fourth gave Lyons the cushion he needed. Liberty broke the game open with five runs in the eighth and another in the ninth.
Chris Singleton had a double for CSU.
The series finale is Sunday is at 2 p.m. Sunday at CSU Ballpark.
STARKVILLE, MISS. — Mississippi State scored six unearned runs in the second and despite a late rally by 18th-ranked South Carolina, the Gamecocks were defeated Friday at Dudy Noble Field.
South Carolina (20-11, 5-6 SEC) went ahead 1-0 in the top of the second inning. Elliott Caldwell led off with a triple off the wall in right-center and scored on Alex Destino’s RBI groundout. After the top of the second inning, pouring rain hit the Starkville area and the game was delayed 53 minutes.
When the game ensued in the bottom of the second, Mississippi State (21-12, 5-6) put a pair of runners on base with two outs. With runners on first and second base, John Holland knocked a grounder to shortstop Jordan Gore, who went for the out at second base but threw wide and past Schrock. Both runners scored and MSU took a 2-1 lead. With momentum shifted, Mississippi State connected with three more hits to gain a 6-1 advantage on the Gamecocks.
South Carolina got a run back in the third as Max Schrock doubled with two outs and scored on Kyle Martin’s RBI single.
Trailing 7-2 entering the seventh inning, the Gamecocks cut the deficit to four runs again on a solo homer by DC Arendas to center field. Carolina would fight back with two more in the eighth inning. Gore led off with a single, Martin drew a one-out walk and Gore scored on Elliott Caldwell’s double down the left field line. Destino would tally his second RBI of the game on a groundout to score Martin and cut the deficit to pair of runs.
MSU reliever Trevor Fitts pitched 1.2 perfect innings of relief and set down all five batters he faced including all three in the ninth to close out the game for the Bulldogs. It was his fifth save of the year. Preston Brown allowed five runs on 10 hits in 7.1 innings with a walk and five strikeouts to earn the win. He is 4-3 on the year. Gamecock left-hander Jack Wynkoop suffered the loss and is 4-3 for the season. He allowed seven runs, one earned, on 14 hits in 6.1 innings with a walk and four strikeouts.