Georgia outlasts College of Charleston, 5-3

MOUNT PLEASANT — College of Charleston (26-22) jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but Georgia (18-28) limited the Cougars from there, pulling out a 5-3 victory in baseball Wednesday night at Patriots Point.

The Bulldogs mustered 14 hits, scoring three times in the second inning, and did not allow College of Charleston to score after the fourth inning.

Freshman Nathan Helvey (4-3) made his return from a monthlong injury, but took the loss in 22/3 innings pitched. He surrendered three runs on six hits and struck out two. Junior Derrick Smith also made his first appearance of the season, pitching three innings and allowing one run and three hits.

Georgia reliever Ross Ripple (2-1) pitched two innings, giving up one run. However, the rest of the Georgia bullpen thwarted CofC’s comeback efforts and Jarrett Brown earned his third save with two strikeouts in the ninth inning.

Gunnar Heidt had a double and single with an RBI and a run for the Cougars. Blake Butler had two hits with an RBI, and Brandon Murray had a double.

The Bulldogs’ Zack Bowers and Daniel Nichols each hit home runs, while Hunter Cole and Brett DeLoach each registered three hits.

“I thought we played OK today,” Cougars coach Monte Lee said. “But we just have to take advantage of run-scoring opportunities when we have them, and stay away from the crooked numbers on the pitching side. If we hold them under three in the second inning, then maybe the game goes a little differently.”

College of Charleston jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning with an RBI single from Heidt and then a groundout RBI from Carl Wise that scored Heidt.

However, the Bulldogs responded in the second when Bowers hit a two-run bomb to left field after an RBI single from Jeff Posey.

The two squads traded runs in the fourth inning with Georgia’s coming off an RBI groundout from Cole, and CofC’s run by way of a two-out RBI single from Butler that scored Morgan Phillips.

Both teams’ pitching staffs were solid until the seventh, when Georgia’s Nichols led off with a high-fly solo shot to left field, making it 5-3. Charleston was not able to respond and Brown earned the save with a perfect ninth inning.

The Cougars step back into conference play this weekend with a series at The Citadel at Riley Park. Only a half-game separates the local rivals for second place in the Southern Conference. Friday’s game begins at 4 p.m. because of a doubleheader with the Charleston RiverDogs.