No. 18 CofC evens series with win No. 40

BOSTON — No. 18 College of Charleston baseball downed Northeastern, 12-6, to pick up its 40th win of the season and even its Colonial Athletic Association series at Friedman Diamond on Friday afternoon.

Charleston (40-11, 20-3 CAA) strings together 40-win seasons for the first time since the 2005-06 seasons, and pitching ace Taylor Clarke added to his record-breaking season with his 12th victory of the season, tying the program’s season-single record.

Clarke (12-1) offered his eighth consecutive quality start, and ties for the most wins nationally in addition to becoming CofC’s second-ever 12-game winner and first since Ryan Johnson in 2004. He finished Friday with one run on four hits while striking out nine in 6.0 innings pitched.

The middle of the Cougar lineup was prolific, as all 12 RBIs came from hitters two through five in the order. Alex Pastorius and Blake Butler both homered on the day, and joined Nick Pappas with three RBIs apiece. Eight different Cougars recorded a hit in the affair.

“We swung the bats a lot better today,” said head coach Monte Lee. “We got it going early and took a lead, and Taylor Clarke was really strong in protecting that lead. We kept finding ways to score runs in the second half of the ball game, and it’s a good win to get back in the series.”

Clarke’s lone blemish was a first-inning solo shot given up to NU slugger Rob Fonseca, the Huskies’ walkoff homerun hero from game one, who caught up with a Clarke fastball in the first, and sailed his 14th of the year out of the park to tie for the CAA lead.

The Cougars trailed in the early frames as NU starter James Mulry weathered some control issues in the third, after issuing free passes to Pastorius (walk) and Carl Wise (hit by pitch). Butler punished his inconsistency by belting a towering shot out to center, his team-best 12th of the year, to put CofC up 3-1.

CofC added a run in the fifth with a leadoff walk by Butler and a double by Pappas, who leads the CAA in two-baggers this season. That put runners in scoring position for Bradley Jones, who delivered Butler to the plate with an RBI bounceout to the right side.

Charleston opened the sixth with back-to-back singles by Champ Rowland and Ryan Brown, and Wise delivered both to the plate with a bases-clearing double into the gap in right-center.

After giving up the homer in the first inning, Clarke settled in and dealt five scoreless innings to round out his day. He faced the minimum in the second and third, and stranded runners in scoring position with inning-ending strikeouts in the fourth and sixth innings.

A two-out Cougar throwing error extended the seventh inning, and eventually gave way to an unearned run on an RBI single by Maxwell Burt, cutting the Cougar lead to 6-2.

CofC took the run back in the next half inning, as Pastorius led off the eighth with a triple, and held at third until scoring on a two-out RBI single by Pappas.

The Cougars batted around in the ninth, ultimately scoring five runs on four hits and three walks in the inning. All runs were scored with two outs, with three coming on a three-run bomb by Pastorius, and two more on a bases-clearing double by Pappas.

The extra runs almost became critical, as a three-run Michael Foster homer culminated a four-run rally which chipped into the Cougar lead in the bottom of the ninth, but the Huskies would get no closer.

The rubber game is set to be played at 11 a.m. Saturday, and CofC’s Brandon Glazer will get the start on the mound.

Zack Erwin pitched 6.0 scoreless innings of three-hit ball in Clemson’s victory over No. 9 Florida State on Friday night at Dick Howser Stadium.

The Tigers, who took a 2-0 lead in the series, improved to 30-25 overall and 15-13 in the ACC. The Seminoles dropped to 37-18 overall and 17-12 in ACC play.

With the win, Clemson assured itself either the No. 5 or No. 6 seed in the ACC Tournament, meaning the Tigers avoid a play-in game and will play at least three games at Durham (N.C.) Bulls Athletic Park next week. It also assured Clemson’s 21st winning ACC regular-season record in 22 seasons under head coach Jack Leggett.

Erwin (6-4) earned the win by allowing just three hits, no runs and no walks with three strikeouts in 6.0 innings pitched. After a 101-rain delay in the middle of the seventh inning, Taylor Vetzel pitched the final 3.0 innings to record his fourth save of the season. Erwin and Vetzel combined to face just three batters over the minimum thanks in large part to two double plays turned by the Tiger defense. Seminole starter Mike Compton (3-3) suffered the loss, as he gave up seven hits, five runs (three earned) and two walks with six strikeouts in 4.2 innings pitched.

Reed Rohlman put Clemson on the scoreboard when he hit the first pitch of the second inning over the fence in right field. In the third inning, Tyler Krieger lined a two-out, two-run single, then Rohlman laced another two-out, two-run single in the fifth inning to give Clemson a 5-0 lead. Steven Duggar, who earlier extended his hitting streak to 13 games, belted a solo homer in the seventh inning and Clemson added another run in the frame.

Presbyterian’s Michael Trebendis got Charleston Southern’s Chase Shelton to ground out with the bases loaded for the final out as PC held on against CSU on Friday at CSU Ballpark.

PC (27-27, 6-17 Big South) scored six runs in the first inning to take an early lead, but the Bucs scored four runs in their final three at-bats to climb back in it. An infield single by Brandon Burris loaded the bases with two out in the bottom of the ninth as CSU cut the lead to two, but Trebendis induced a groundout from Shelton to end the rally.

PC jumped on Bucs’ starter Kyle McDorman (1-7) with a big first inning. Ryan Hedrick hit a grand slam and six of the first seven Blue Hose reached and scored.

The Bucs trailed 9-3 in the seventh when they started their comeback. Brandon Burris had an RBI single in the eighth to cut the lead to 9-5. PC reliever Trey Hayes was able to get Cole Murphy to ground into a double play to get the Blue Hose out of the jam.

CSU had four hits in the ninth, including run-scoring singles by Andrew Widell and Brian Dye to set up the late drama.

PC’s Tyler Weyenberg went 3-for-5 and scored twice. Five Blue Hose had multiple hits, which were even at 14 apiece.

CSU’s Sly Edwards was 4-for-5 with a two-run home run in the first as the Bucs quickly shaved two runs off of PC’s lead. Cody Smith and Joe Pistacchio combined for four scoreless innings of work to close out the game.

PC starter Beau Dees (3-5) worked into the eighth for the win, scattering 10 hits and using three double plays to avoid any major damage.

The Bucs’ Nate Blanchard extended his hitting streak to 21 games, CSU’s longest of the season.

The teams play the series finale at 2 p.m. Saturday. CSU will honor its nine seniors before the game.

In a game which saw big hits on both sides, it was Furman’s Cameron Whitehead who had the decisive one, lining a two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the seventh to give the Paladins a win over The Citadel in the middle game of the final Southern Conference series of the year.

The loss means the Bulldogs (24-28, 9-14 SoCon) will play East Tennessee State in the opening round of the SoCon Tournament on Tuesday at 10 a.m. at Riley Park. Furman improved to 24-30 and 11-12 and can still finish as high as fifth in the regular-season standings.

The rubber game of the series takes place at 1 p.m. Saturday when freshman right-hander Thomas Byelick (2-3, 5.30 ERA) will face Paladin first-year righty Will Gaddis (3-5, 5.33).

The Citadel fell behind 4-0 in the first inning, battled back to take a 7-4 lead with five in the fifth and went ahead for the final time in the top of the seventh when Stephen Windham’s slow tapper to second with the infield in chased home Austin Mapes to give the Bulldogs an 8-7 lead.

Mapes had led off the inning with an infield bloop single, his third hit of the game, and he extended his hitting streak to 12, the longest by a Bulldog this season. Mapes scored two runs and drove in two.

The Paladins bounced back in their half of the seventh against Austin Mason. Chris Ohmstede singled and Jordan Simpson belted a ground-rule double, but it Mason had a chance to wriggle off the hook when he struck out Brandon Elmy and Landon Kay. But Whitehead lined a single to the right of second baseman Jacob Watcher to drive in what proved to be the game-winning runs.

The Citadel had a chance to force extra innings against closer Elliott Warford in the ninth. Johnathan Stokes reached on a throwing error by shortstop Sims Griffith and went to third on a wild pitch and ground out to second. After Windham was hit by a pitch, Warford struck out Drew Ellis and Griffith atoned for his error by chasing down a pop up by Clay Martin in shallow left to end the game.

Warford picked up his sixth save of the season, working the final 1 2/3 innings of hitless ball with two strikeouts. Ryan Griffith allowed one hit and one run in 2 1/3 innings and was credited with the win. Mason took the loss for the Bulldogs.

The Citadel starter JP Sears allowed four hits and four runs in the first but settled down and gave up only three hits and one run over his final 3 1/3 frames. That allowed the Bulldogs to rally beginning with an RBI single by Mapes in the third and solo homer by Ellis an inning later, the freshman’s 11th of the season and fifth in the last six games.

The Bulldogs then erupted for five runs in the fifth, the last four coming with two outs. Walsh grounded a single to right to give The Citadel a 5-4 lead, and Windham followed with a two-run homer to left, his third of the season, to make it a three-run game. Walsh increased his team-leading RBI total to 56.

Furman pulled within one with a two-run bottom of the fifth including an RBI single by Jordan Simpson that extended his hitting streak to 16. Jake Jones produced a two-out double in the sixth following a Bulldog error that tied it at 7.