College of Charleston suffered a lopsided, 15-1 defeat to Indiana in game two of a three-game series on a drizzly Saturday afternoon at Patriots Point, evening the series at a game apiece with a decisive game three scheduled for Sunday at noon.
Charleston (5-3) was more competitive than the final score indicated, up until the Cougars surrendered back-to-back five-run frames in the eighth and ninth innings which blew the margin out of proportion.
“Tomorrow is going to be very pivotal for us as a team,” said head coach Monte Lee. “I’m very excited to see how our guys respond. We go beat soundly today. They out-hit us; they out-pitched us; they out-played us. That’s going to happen from time to time, but the big thing is how we respond.
“Are we going to be able to come out tomorrow and compete? Are we going to be able to put this behind us and find a way to win the series? The bright spot is that it’s still a 1-1 series, and we have a chance to win it, but we’re going to have to go out and play better baseball if we expect to do that.”
The Hoosiers efficiently strung hits together to plate runs — particularly in the eighth and ninth innings — producing a .458 average (11-for-24) with runners on base and .563 clip (9-for-16) with runners in scoring position. The Cougars were just 1-for-9 (.111) and 1-for-8 (.125), respectively, in those timely-hitting departments.
CofC also failed to end innings defensively when they had the opportunity, surrendering six two-out hits to the Hoosier bats, while two costly fielding errors led to seven unearned runs. The Hoosiers scored seven of their 15 runs with two outs in innings.
The game moved quietly and unassumingly though the opening innings, with both starting pitchers only facing one-more-than the minimum through the first three innings.
CofC starter Eric Bauer (1-2) yielded to the Hoosiers for the first time in the fourth inning, after a walk and back-to-back, two-out doubles plated the game’s first runs.
The Hoosiers tacked on two more in the top of the fifth, after a single, RBI triple and sacrifice fly stretched the lead to 4-0.
The Cougars reinserted themselves into the game in their half of the fifth, with Tommy Richter leading off with a double, taking third on a flyout to right by Erven Roper, and scoring on an RBI groundout by Champ Rowland.
Indiana took the run back with a manufactured run in the seventh after a walk, sacrifice bunt and RBI single to right pushed the lead back to four runs, 5-1.
Bauer was tagged with the loss after going 7.0 innings and allowing five runs on seven hits while punching out four.
The Cougars doomed themselves in the final innings, snapping a 23-inning errorless streak with errors in both the eighth and ninth innings, allowing Indiana to plate 10 runs on seven hits and undo any hopes of a comeback.
Alabama State took advantage of three errors in the ninth to score a pair of tie-breaking runs and then held on in the bottom of the inning for a victory over The Citadel to even the three-game series at Riley Park.
The Bulldogs (5-5) and Hornets (4-5) will meet in the deciding game of the series Sunday at noon.
The back-and-forth contest was tied at 13 heading into the ninth when the Bulldogs committed the final three of their seven errors to allow the Hornets to push across two runs without the benefit of a base hit.
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Connor Walsh doubled to right center for his fifth hit and third RBI of the game, plating Austin Mapes to pull The Citadel within one. The rally fell short, however, when Armando Ruiz came in to retire Philip Watcher on a liner to left.
The last out was recorded four hours and 14 minutes after the first pitch, making it the longest nine-inning game in Bulldog history, eclipsing the previous mark of 3:53 set against Western Carolina on March 29, 2013.
The five hits for Walsh marked the first time a Bulldog accomplished that feat since Calvin Orth did so against Davidson on May 3, 2013. The Citadel finished with 18 hits in the contest, with Johnathan Stokes adding three and Jason Smith contributing two hits and three RBI.
Kevin Connell was tagged with the loss despite not allowing a hit in 1.2 innings of relief. Michael Estevez came on in the seventh and worked two innings, allowing one hit and strikeout out four to pick up the win. The save for Ruiz was his second of the year.
Neither team had much in the way of pitching early with a combined 23 runs scoring over the first four innings. The Bulldogs scored four in the second including a two-run single by Stokes and added six in the third to take a 10-6 lead, a frame highlighted by a William Kinney base hit that brought home two and a Smith triple that also chased across a pair of runs.
Alabama State continued to put the pressure on, scoring six times over the fourth and fifth innings to take a 12-11 lead, but the Bulldogs went in front in the seventh on consecutive RBI doubles by Stephen Windham and Walsh. The Hornets tied it in the eighth before scoring their decisive runs the following inning.
Brandon Burris’ walk-off single in the 13th inning scored Cole Murphy to lift Charleston Southern over North Florida on Saturday night at CSU Ballpark.
The Buccaneers improved to 5-3 with the win, while UNF fell to 6-6.
Burris’ line-drive single to centerfield was the game’s first run since the sixth inning and snapped a three-game losing streak for CSU. Murphy drew a two-out walk and took third on a single by Jack Crittenberger to set up Burris’ game-winner.
CSU relievers Jon Piriz, Joe Pistacchio, and Austin Weekley (1-0) combined to hold the Ospreys scoreless over the final seven innings. Alex Ministeri pitched out of jam in the sixth following starter Evan Raynor.
UNF’s Donnie Dewees was 3-for-6 with an RBI to lead UNF. Evan Incinelli (0-1) took the loss, giving up an unearned run in the 13th.