GREENVILLE — The Citadel scored two runs in the 11th inning to pull off an 8-6 upset of No. 2 seed College of Charleston today in the first round of the Southern Conference baseball tournament at Fluor Field.
The Bulldogs’ Tyler Grifin belted a run-scoring double in the 11th to break a 6-6 tie, and Griffin scored from third on an error to make it 8-6.
“This was a great college baseball game,” said Citadel coach Fred Jordan, whose team improved to 25-31. “(Starting pitcher) Austin Pritcher got out of a couple of jams. We played very solid defense throughout the ball game, and we got some really timely hits.”
The Citadel, seeded No. 7 and will face the winner of today’s game between No. 3 Elon and No. 6 Georgia Southern in the second round. The Cougars (37-19) drop to the losers’ bracket and will play the loser of that game.
“It was a really tough way to lose the game today after getting off to a really tough start,” said Cougars coach Monte Lee. “We gave up four runs in the first two innings and made a couple of really costly defensive mistakes and The Citadel capitalized on them. The Citadel set the tone and capitalized on our mistakes.
“The bottom line is The Citadel outplayed us in every facet of the game. We made some base running mistakes. We made some defensive mistakes. We didn’t pitch particularly well. They made one error, and we made four. They out-hit us, they out-pitched us, they out-played us and they deserve a lot of credit. They played a better ball game today and they won.”
Trailing 6-2 in the eighth, the Cougars tied it up on a pinch-hit, three-run double by Tyler Jackson and an RBI single from SoCon player of the year Marty Gantt.
The Citadel scored two runs in each of the first two innings, with the help of three College of Charleston errors. The Cougars had two miscues in the first inning, and the Bulldogs’ Joe Jackson drove in one run with a sacrifice fly.
The Bulldogs scored twice more in the second, on two hits and another Cougar error. Mackert brought in a run with another sac fly.
Charleston scored single runs in the third, on an RBI singley by Daniel Aldrich, and the fourth, on Cody Martin’s sac fly, to make it 4-2.
The Citadel added a run in the fifth on Griffin’s run-scoring triple, and 6-2 in the eighth on Mackert’s solo homer.
Bulldogs starter Austin Pritcher worked six innings, allowing two runs on four hits with four walks and three strikeouts. Charleston starter Christian Powell, the SoCon pitcher of the year, lasted five innings, allowing five runs (two earned) on eight hits with two walks and four strikeouts.