College of Charleston baseball ensured a series victory in the crosstown series against The Citadel with a 6-4 come-from-behind victory in game two Saturday at Joe Riley Park.
Charleston (3-2) iced the series behind a quality start by left-handed junior Eric Bauer (1-1), who went 6.1 innings with two runs (one earned), four hits and two strikeouts.
Senior shortstop Champ Rowland knocked his second home run of the weekend to wake the Cougar bats in the third inning, driving his RBI total to a team-high six on the year. Nick Pappas doubled to both corners of the ball park with runners aboard for three RBIs in the game, erasing an early deficit.
The Cougars were outhit (7-8) by the Bulldogs, but achieved the timely hitting The Citadel lacked, scoring five of six runs with two outs in an inning.
The Bulldogs struck in the bottom of the first after a costly Cougar fielding error, a sacrifice bunt, and an RBI single by Austin Mapes which plated the game’s first run, unearned. The Citadel tacked on another in the second on singles by Stephen Windham and Shy Phillips, stretching the lead to 2-0.
The Cougars didn’t reach a baserunner until Rowland’s second bomb of the weekend, which, almost identically to his game one shot, stayed fair just long enough to curl around the left-field foul pole, this time with two outs in the top of the third. After the lineup turned over, a Ryan Brown walk and Blake Butler single extended the inning further, and an opposite-field double by Pappas cleared the bases, catapulting the Cougars into the lead.
“The big key in the game for us was after giving up a couple single runs in the early innings of the ball game, we scored three with a big inning in the third,” said head coach Monte Lee. “After taking two outs and two strikes, Champ hit the home run and that helped us relax a little bit. We had three really strong at bats after that and we scored three runs with two outs which was huge, and fueled us moving forward.”
With some run support behind him, Bauer dealt three scoreless innings before the Cougars added to the lead in the sixth. Blake Butler was plunked in the back to give the Cougars a leadoff runner, and Pappas provided another RBI double, this time to the corner in right to score Butler all the way from first. Pappas moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on an RBI groundout by Erven Roper, stretching the Cougar lead to 5-2.
CofC stretched it further in the seventh after Alex Pastorius led off with a pinch-hit single, and hustled around the bases to score on a fluky Citadel fielding lapse by the first baseman who dropped a would-be inning-ending putout.
After Charleston took the lead in the third, Bauer retired 14 of the next 16 hitters he faced to get the Cougars through the middle innings with the lead intact. He retired the leadoff hitter in the seventh before being replaced by Hunter Rice, who made quick work of the two remaining outs in the seventh.
The Citadel rallied in the eighth, however, plating runs on four consecutive hits — two of which went for extra bases — to cut into the Cougar lead. Jake McBreairty inherited runners on the corners with one out, and only needed one pitch to get an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play to take the 6-4 lead into the ninth.
Chase Henry came on to close in the ninth, and retired the side in order to pick up his first save of the season.
“I thought Eric Bauer was outstanding,” said Lee. “He got better as the game went on and gave us a great start. I’m very proud of Jake McBreairty for the way he came in and got a big double play with the go-ahead run at the plate. Chase Henry, after struggling yesterday, came in and was perfect in the ninth. I really liked the job our pitchers did today.”
The Cougars will look to cap the sweep when hosting game three on Sunday at Patriots Point with first pitch slated for 1 p.m.