Stakes large for Cougars vs. Citadel

The Citadel's Drew DeKerlegand throws to first against takes Elon Sunday at Riley Park. (Alan Hawes/postandcourier.com)

College of Charleston and The Citadel meet on the baseball field for the fourth time this season at 6 p.m. today at Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant.

Here's a look at today's matchup:

The stakes

The game will not count in Southern Conference standings -- The Citadel took two of three from the Cougars in their SoCon series April 8-10 -- but still looms large for the Cougars (31-16), who are trying to build a case for an at-large bid to the 64-team NCAA playoffs.

Charleston currently ranks No. 64 in the RPI rankings at boydsworld.com, and needs to win its last eight games to reach the top 45. Last season, College of Charleston and Elon earned at-large bids from the SoCon with May 31 RPIs of 29 and 44, respectively.

Lost weekend

Both teams lost SoCon series at home last weekend, The Citadel getting swept by first-place Elon and College of Charleston losing two of three to second-place UNC Greensboro.

If the season ended today, defending champion The Citadel (8-16 SoCon) would not make the eight-team field for the SoCon Tournament, losing out on a tie-breaker to Wofford (8-16) for the final spot.

Mathematically, at least, College of Charleston (15-9) could still earn a share of the SoCon regular season title.

The pitchers

The Citadel is going with freshman right-hander Bryce Hines

(4-3, 4.85 ERA), who will be making his ninth start. Hines pitched six innings one four-hit ball in an 11-3 win over Charleston Southern on April 19, but has not faced the Cougars this season.

Charleston will counter with sophomore lefty Jake Zolkan (1-1, 6.87 ERA), who make his second start. Zolkan got the win in the Cougars' 6-5 win over UNCG on Saturday, getting the final two outs of the game.

Previously

The Citadel won two of three from the Cougars in their SoCon series last month at Riley Park, taking the first two games by 6-2 and 17-14 before losing the finale, 10-5. The Citadel has won three of the last four against the Cougars; Charleston won 12 of 16 before that.