Wes Wrenn led by word and deed this weekend.
The Citadel's senior pitcher set the tone Friday night with an eight-inning gem against Georgia Southern, then fired up fellow senior Matt Crim before the rubber game of the series Sunday.
"Wes came up to talk to me before the game," Crim said after an 8-4 victory at Riley Park clinched a key Southern Conference series for the Bulldogs. "He told me just to pitch my game and really got me motivated. He's been setting a great example every Friday night."
Crim allowed the powerful GSU offense just two runs on five hits over six innings on Sunday, and Matt Simonelli and Kyle Jordan each drove in two runs as the Bulldogs improved to 25-17 overall and 12-9 in the SoCon.
The Bulldogs are still in fourth place in the SoCon. But as the calendar flips to May and the Bulldogs point toward the SoCon Tournament, the performance of their starting pitchers against second-place Georgia Southern (30-11, 13-6) is an encouraging sign.
Wrenn, Crim and Saturday's hard-luck loser, Asher Wojciechowski, allowed the Eagles just seven earned runs over a combined 21 innings. Georgia Southern, hitting .324 and averaging 9.9 runs per game coming in, batted just .216 and totaled nine runs in three games against the Bulldogs.
"Matt Crim was outstanding today, and (Georgia Southern starter) Matt Murray was just as good," Citadel coach Fred Jordan said. "Really, we were just fortunate to get some timely hits down the stretch."
Relying almost exclusively on his fastball and changeup, the left-handed Crim (4-4) gave up five hits, walked two and struck out five over his six innings. Drew Mahaffey worked two scoreless innings for his sixth save.
The Bulldogs broke open the game with four runs in the sixth. Murray, who had held The Citadel to one run and four hits to that point, walked the bases loaded with one out. Simonelli's sacrifice fly off reliever Kyle Kamppi scored one run, and Sid Fallaw's single up the middle made it 3-0.
Kyle Jordan followed with a squirting ground ball toward right field. Second baseman Kevin Bowles made a diving stop in short right, but Chris McGuiness beat his throw home. And when the ball got away from catcher Griffin Benedict, Fallaw raced home to make it 5-0.
GSU promptly came back with for runs in the seventh, which has been the problem inning for the Bulldogs. A single and a walk chased Crim, and another single off reliever Matt Reifsnider loaded the bases with no outs. A sac fly made it 5-1, and with Ty Wright's groundout, the Bulldogs were nearly out of the inning.
But Reifsnider made the mistake of walking the No. 2 hitter, Bowles, in front of the .400-hitting catcher, Benedict. Lefty Matt Talley came in to face Benedict, and a passed ball and a two-run single by Benedict made it 5-4. But Kyle Jordan made a nice play at shortstop on an Eric Phillips' grounder to keep the Bulldogs ahead.
Jordan helped the Bulldogs add three insurance runs in the eighth. His triple off the right-field wall scored Simonelli, and Jordan scored when Johnny Dangerfield singled through a drawn-in infield. Bryan Altman singled in Nick Orvin to make it 8-4.
Singles by Meade, who has hit in 14 straight games, and McGuiness and a sac fly by Simonelli staked the Bulldogs to a 1-0 lead in the fourth.
Citadel freshmen David Greene and Zach Garrett were suspended this week for a violation of team rules, a school spokesman said. They should return to action this week ... Fred Jordan needs just three wins to become the first coach to win 300 SoCon games ... The Citadel is off until a three-game set with visiting Samford starting Friday.