If it's Tuesday, it must be a Citadel loss.
The Bulldogs own a 14-1 record and a three-game lead at the halfway point of the Southern Conference regular season, have won 26 games and still rank in the top 25 in college baseball RPI rankings.
But The Citadel hasn't been able to win on Tuesdays. The Bulldogs fell to 0-6 on that day of the week by allowing 10 runs in the third inning of a 16-7 loss to rival College of Charleston before 1,258 fans at Riley Park.
Kolby Epley's grand slam keyed the third and helped junior pitcher Josh Salay to his first win of the season as the Cougars (28-11) snapped a three-game skid against The Citadel (26-14).
The only consolation for the Bulldogs -- the non-conference game did not count in the SoCon standings.
"Last year, they beat us by two touchdowns," said Citadel coach Fred Jordan, referring to the Cougars' 21-8 win in a non-conference game last
season. "So we were a little bit better, because we got it within a touchdown tonight. But after the one inning, it was ballgame over."
The Bulldogs bounced back from that 13-run loss last year to sweep a SoCon series against the Cougars. They will have the same opportunity this season May 7-9 at Patriots Point, but will need to pitch and play much better.
Charleston racked up 18 hits against seven Citadel pitchers as Cole Rakar and Greg Blake each went 4 for 5, Blake driving in three runs and Rakar two.
"We swung the bats well tonight and momentum carried us a little bit," said Cougars coach Monte Lee. "Josh Salay gave us a quality start and we got a good win against a really good ballclub."
The Citadel's record on Tuesdays -- the Bulldogs are 26-8 on the other days of the week -- is a function of a difficult midweek schedule and struggling midweek pitching.
The Bulldogs have lost to four ranked teams (VMI, Coastal Carolina twice and South Carolina) as well as Charleston Southern and C of C in Tuesday games, with sophomore right-hander T.J. Clarkson (1-3, 6.19 ERA) drawing the first five starts and freshman Austin Pritcher getting the ball against the Cougars.
Pritcher, from James Island High School, was staked to a 2-0 lead in the first but last only 2 1/3 innings, giving up eight hits and eight runs to drop to 2-4.
"We're a little young in our midweek pitching, and we've played some outstanding clubs in those games," Jordan said. "I think we've lost eight games to major RPI teams, so you have to make something positive when these games get away from you."
There was little positive for the Bulldogs to take from the 10-run third, the most runs The Citadel has allowed in an inning this season.
Blake, Jesse Mesa and Joey Bergman stroked consecutive singles, all on two-strike counts, to start the third for the Cougars, and Jordan visited Pritcher at the mound after Rakar's two-run double put the Cougars ahead, 3-2.
Pritcher got Rob Kral to pop up for the first out, but infield singles by Jose Rodriguez and Baker Knox scored Rakar for a 4-2 lead, and loaded the bases for designated hitter Epley.
The right-handed Epley lofted a 2-2 pitch just over the wall in left-center, his second homer of the season and the Cougars' fifth grand slam, to break the game open at 8-2.
Blake greeted reliever Chris Boyce with a solo homer to right on the first pitch, his second hit of the inning and eighth homer of the season, for a 9-2 advantage. And the Cougars polished off the 10-run inning when catcher Bryan Altman threw the ball into center field on a steal attempt, allowing Bergman to score for the second time in the inning.
"We got three consecutive hits with two strikes," Lee said. "That was big, because sometimes it's tough with two strikes and The Citadel's got a great pitching staff. But we were able to find a way to get on base with two strikes, and that opened the whole inning for us."
Salay (1-3) allowed five hits and three runs over five innings to earn his first victory as a Cougar.
E--Bergman, Rakar, Altman, Jordan, Greene.LOB--CofC 7, Citadel 12. 2B--Rakar, Knox, Jordan, Jones. 3B--Blake. HR--Epley, Blake. SF--Pritcher, Altman. SF--Thompkins, Simonelli, Mackert. SB--Bergman, Felder.
WP--Brittle 2, Hembree, Pritcher, Reifsnider, Spillane. PB--Pritcher, Richards.
Time--3:27. Att: 1,258.