Both College of Charleston coach Monte Lee and Citadel coach Fred Jordan came away from this weekend's Southern Conference baseball series at Riley Park with something to smile about.
Jordan and his Bulldogs won the first two games of the series for a much-needed confidence boost after a slow start in the league. And the College of Charleston (21-11, 7-5) hammered the Bulldogs (12-20, 7-11) early Sunday for a 10-5 victory that helped erase the sting of an embarrassing 17-14 collapse against The Citadel on Saturday.
"I've been coaching 11 years and had some great wins and I've had some tough losses. Yesterday was a really, really tough loss after having a commanding lead late in the ballgame and we just fell apart defensively and on the mound," said Lee, who won his 100th game as Cougars head coach.
"Today may have been one of the more complete games we've played all year. Christian Powell (a sophomore right-hander) was outstanding, absolutely outstanding on the mound. I thought he made two bad pitches out of 107. Outside of that, he was really, really good for us. And defensively we played really well. It was big to me to see us go out there and play good defense behind our pitching staff."
The Cougars wasted little time in jumping on the Bulldogs. Leadoff batter Marty Gantt teed off on a 3-2 pitch from Citadel freshman Justin Russell and sent it over the outstretched arms of Nick Orvin and over the center- field wall.
The Cougars added three runs in the second inning, loading the bases and then emptying them on Gantt's double off the right-field wall, then added two each in the third, fourth and fifth innings for a commanding 10-0 lead. Freshman Daniel Aldrich hit a two-run homer in the third and drove in a pair of runs in the fourth with a double into right field. Rob Kral had a two-run double in the fifth.
The Citadel finally got its offense untracked in the seventh inning when Justin Mackert led off with a single and Brad Felder homered over the right field wall. Freshman Drew DeKerlegand added a solo homer in the eighth.
In light of what transpired Saturday, Cougars fans had to be a little antsy when Mackert led off the ninth with a single off sophomore reliever Jake Zokan, and Felder followed with his second home run of the game, cutting Charleston's lead to 10-5. That was followed by a double by junior Grant Richards and a single by freshman Joe Jackson, putting runners on the corners with no outs. But Zokan buckled down and struck out the final three batters to end the game.
"They were red hot early and we had no answers," Jordan said. "Powell pitched extremely well for them. We made a charge, but we didn't have enough."
Aldrich drove in four runs and had four hits in five at-bats, hitting his 11th homer of the season to go with a pair of doubles. Gantt had three hits in five at bats, driving in four runs with a solo homer and a bases-loaded double. Felder led the Bulldogs hitters, going three for four with a pair of two-run homers.
Powell (4-0) gave up six hits in eight innings with five strikeouts. Freshman Justin Russell (1-3) gave up six runs and six hits in two innings.
The Bulldogs will play host to South Carolina at 7 p.m. Tuesday before returning to conference action next weekend with a three-game series at Furman. The College of Charleston plays at Charleston Southern at 3 p.m. Tuesday and then faces the Buccaneers at Patriots Point at 6 p.m. Wednesday. The Cougars then travel to Elon for a three-game series next weekend.