Cougars In The News (April 17-April 23, 2012)
Post and Courier
April 23, 2012
MOUNT PLEASANT — While Marty Gantt may have been the series star, College of Charleston senior Rob Harding was the hero for the evening as the Cougars squeaked past The Citadel, 6-5, in 11 innings at Patriots Point.
Harding, who went 4 for 6 at the plate, delivered a one-out single to score Brandon Murray and complete a Southern Conference sweep for the Cougars, who improved to 29-12, 17-7 in the SoCon. The Citadel fell to 17-24, 7-11.
It was the first extra-inning game between the schools in 104 games. The Citadel is 1-2 in extra-inning games this year while the Cougars are now 2-1.
After stopping the Bulldogs in their half of the 11th, Charleston got a leadoff double by Bradley Goodson. The Citadel elected to walk Murray in order to face Cougar cleanup hitter Daniel Aldrich, who was 0 for 5 with three strikeouts. Cougars coach Monte Lee had Aldrich bunt, and the sophomore’s attempt popped over the third baseman’s head. But the Bulldogs managed to get the lead runner, bringing Harding to the plate.
His sharp single to left scored Murray and his teammates piled on in celebration. Harding had three RBI for Charleston.
Gantt was 9 for 13 for the series (.692), had a home run, 3 doubles, added four RBI and drew three intentional walks, including one Sunday.
The game, originally scheduled to begin at 1 p.m., didn’t end until 9:55 p.m., thanks to a five-hour rain delay that pushed the start until 6:15 p.m.
It was an important series for both schools. The Cougars are in the chase for the regular-season title and have league series remaining at Western Carolina next weekend and at UNC Greensboro May 17-19. The Citadel, still fighting for one of the eight spots in next month’s Southern Conference Tournament, has four league series remaining, including a trip to Georgia Southern next weekend.
The College of Charleston struck first, with Harding singling in Bradley Goodson, who was hit by a pitch.
But The Citadel answered with a pair of runs in the top of the second. Joe Jackson led off with an infield single and eventually scored on Calvin Orth’s ground out. Murray misplayed a fly ball that allowed Drew DeKerlegand, who also singled, to score.
Charleston tied it in the third at 2-2. Murray led off with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. He scored on Harding’s single.
The Cougars added two more runs in the fourth on three singles and a sacrifice fly for a 4-2 lead, then added one more in the fifth.
The Citadel battled back and tied it with a three-run sixth. The Bulldogs got singles by Joe Jackson, Drew DeKerlegand and a walk by Bailey Rush that loaded the bases with two outs, and Hughston Armstrong cleaned the bases with a double into the right field corner.
Post and Courier
April 22, 2012
College of Charleston senior Marty Gantt continued to shine at the plate but he also showed off his defensive talent Saturday in leading the College of Charleston to a 7-2 victory over The Citadel at Patriots Point.
Gantt led off the College of Charleston’s first inning with a towering home run over the left field wall to highlight a 3-for-3 performance against the Bulldogs. He also made a spectacular diving catch in the fifth inning to save a run.
Gantt also had a double and a single, stole two bases and drew two intentional walks. Heading into today’s 1 p.m. series finale at Patriots Point, Gantt is 6 for 8 against the Bulldogs.
“I’ve been coming out and trying to get good swings. Their pitchers made some mistakes and left some balls across the plate. I was just trying to capitalize,” Gantt said.
Gantt’s homer wasn’t the only long ball for the Cougars in the first. Sophomore Brandon Murray powered one over the right-field wall to give the Cougars a 2-0 lead.
The Bulldogs answered with a run of their own in the second. Joe Jackson got the first of his two doubles to lead off the inning and scored on Drew DeKerlegand’s sacrifice fly. But the Cougars were able to match that in the bottom half. Gunnar Heidt reached on an error and eventually scored on Bradley Goodson’s bloop single.
Charleston broke the game open with a three-run sixth, getting three straight singles for the first run. Murray’s two-out single delivered the final two.
Gantt scored the Cougars’ final run in the bottom of the eighth, leading off with a double down the third-base line, stealing third and scoring on Goodson’s single.
The Citadel managed to scratch out a single run in the ninth with DeKerlegand getting a leadoff single, advancing to second on a walk and to third on a wild pitch and scoring on a sacrifice by Nick Orvin.
Citadel coach Fred Jordan said starter Kevin Connell was wild in the first and the Cougars took advantage. But he also praised the College of Charleston defense for making big plays.
“The play Gantt made, and the play Rob Harding made with two outs (in the sixth), that could have been a multiple run inning for us,” Jordan said. “And Murray’s two-out base hit (in the bottom of the sixth) busted the ball game over. We have to come out and try to get one tomorrow.”
Starter Christian Powell (7-2) got the win for the Cougars, giving up four hits and one run. Connell (1-3) was charged with the loss.
“When you are able to score early, it relaxes your offense,” Charleston coach Monte Lee said. “It takes some pressure off the team. You play with more confidence and play relaxed when you score early.
“It was great for us to start off the game and hit a couple of home runs and get on the board early. We threw the ball well. Defensively we made two plays in the middle part of the ballgame. We swung the bats well and we were able to throw the ball well. We played a good game today.”
Post and Courier
April 22, 2012
You played at The Citadel and earned a degree from College of Charleston, and you are now in your sixth season with the Cougars. Any mixed emotions when the Bulldogs face the Cougars as they do this weekend?
“I would not say mixed emotions, because I definitely want to win anytime we play anybody. To me, it’s always been fun to play The Citadel and to see coach (Fred) Jordan in the other dugout, and (assistant coach) David Beckley and now (pitching coach) Britt Reames. They are good friends of mine, and when you compete against your friends, it makes it more fun. For this series, I think the guys in both dugouts have a little bit more energy because we get more fans at the games. To me, it’s just a lot of fun.”
Do any of your Bulldog buddies give you a hard time?
“You know what, when I first started coaching, they did a little bit. But now I’m into my sixth year and we’ve played them every year, I don’t hear much unless they beat us. A couple of years ago, they swept us and I heard a lot of talk then. But as long as we win, they don’t give me too much of a hard time.”
How did you end up at College of Charleston after your pro career ended?
“After I got done playing, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do. I had another semester to finish to get my degree, so I got that from College of Charleston. I graduated that December and I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do, just like any college graduate. I wanted to get into coaching to kind of give back everything I learned in pro ball, and (Cougars coach) John Pawlowski gave me a chance. I love Charleston and didn’t want to leave, so when Monte (Lee) kept me on after coach Pawlowski left, it was a blessing.”
What do you love about coaching?
“The guys keep you young. You are able to stay around the game that you love. I grew up playing this game my whole life, and being around a bunch of 18- to 21-year-olds, they keep you young in everything you do. I feel like a little kid at heart, so it’s fun to be outside with a baseball.”
Playing for Fred Jordan and working for John Pawlowski and Monte Lee, do you feel like you are learning a lot?
“Oh yeah. Any time in this game, or in work or in life, you want to be associated with good people. I’ve been lucky enough to have three good coaches who have helped me learn baseball and to grow as a person and as a man.”
Do you want to run your own program one day?
“I’d love to be a head coach one day. When that is, I can’t answer that question. I think we have a good thing here at College of Charleston. When you are able to work with a guy who is not just your boss but your friend, that makes it more fun.”
Post and Courier
April 22, 2012
The College of Charleston men’s and women’s tennis teams each posted wins over Furman to reach the Southern Conference championship matches with semifinal wins Saturday.
On the men’s side, the top-seeded Cougars (17-4) beat the fifth-seeded Paladins, 4-0. They will face No. 2 seed Samford (17-4) in today’s championship at 10 a.m. at the C of C Tennis Center in Mount Pleasant.
The Charleston women rolled past Furman, 5-0, to reach the title matchup. The No. 2 seed Cougars (24-5) will look to claim a fourth straight SoCon title at 2 p.m. today against top seed UNC Greensboro (18-5).
For the men, Tom Delme clinched the match with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Furman’s Alex Christ at No. 2 singles. Kyle Parker and Crescente Lesser also won.
The other Cougars point came at doubles with wins by Alon Faiman/Stephen Hardy and Delme/Billy Kenny.
On the women’s side, the Cougars got quick wins from Jenny Falcone at No. 5, and Katie Lee at No. 6. The Cougars kept rolling, getting wins at No. 2 from Kelly Kambourelis, followed by Samantha Maddox’s 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 win at No. 4 over Margaret Boyette. Charleston finished off the win seconds later when Christin Newman beat Lauren Kline 7-5, 7-5 at No. 1.
Charleston Soutern’s men’s track team was fourth at the Big South Conference Championships in Myrtle Beach, while the women were third.
CSU’s menhad 78½ points behind champion Liberty, which won its sixth straight title with 213 points. CSU’s women had 84 points, trailing champion Coastal Carolina’s 234.
Javon Young defended his title in the 100 meters, winning in 10.38 seconds. He also won the 200 in 20.82 to cap a CSU sweep as Rozzie Johnson was second and Cornelius Tyler third.
The CSU men’s 4x100-meter relay team of Young, Johnson, Tyler and Dantwan Spreads successfully defended their title, winning the event in a meet record timeof 39.91 seconds.
Tyler, Young and Spreads would add another win in the 4x400, combining with Juan Thompson in 3:12.92.
Mulern Jean won the 100- meter hurdles for CSU’s women, setting track, meet and conference records in 13.45.
Citadel sophomore Eddie Jones jumped a personal-best 23 feet, 111/4 inches, to win the long jump during the Southern Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Cullowhee, N.C. Denard Smith took second in the long jump (22-113/4) and Clay Allen was second in the javelin.
College of Charleston senior Kristen Wolfe defended her title in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in a season-best time of 10 minutes, 48.26 seconds, and sophomore Dena O’Brien set a school record by winning the 10,000 meters in 35:55.44.
College of Charleston split a Southern Conference doubleheader with UNC Greensboro in Mount Pleasant. The Cougars fell 5-2 in the opener, but won 2-0 in the second game. The Cougars (29-20, 12-9 SoCon) host the Spartans (18-29, 7-10) at 1 p.m. today.
Amanda Lonergan went 2 for 3 with an RBI for the Cougars to back a seven-hit shutout by Hope Klicker. Kelsey Hodgson had the other three RBIs.
Post and Courier
April 21, 2012
MOUNT PLEASANT — With the bases loaded and The Citadel’s best hitter at the plate Friday night, Josh Renfro flashed back to the clutch pitches he made in College of Charleston’s upset of No. 9 South Carolina earlier this week.
“I wanted to take that momentum and that focus and carry it over to this situation,” said Renfro, who was trying to preserve a four-run lead in the fifth inning when the Bulldogs loaded the bases with one out and senior Justin Mackert to the plate.
Renfro struck out Mackert, who had homered in the third, and for good measure also whiffed cleanup hitter Joe Jackson to end the threat. The Cougars, riding two doubles and three RBIs from Marty Gantt, went on to an 8-4 victory over the Bulldogs before 568 fans at Patriots Point.
“That was a really big situation,” said Cougars coach Monte Lee. “They could have done some damage right there, and Josh was able to make some pitches to two good hitters. That was really the ball game for us right there.”
The effort by Renfro (6-3), who gave up just four hits and one earned run over six innings, helped the Cougars improve a postseason resume that was bolstered considerably by Tuesday’s 4-3 win at two-time defending national champion South Carolina. Charleston is 27-12 overall and in the thick of the chase for the regular season title at 15-7 in the Southern Conference.
“Our guys understand that we have to play every single game with a sense of urgency,” said Lee. “They know what’s at stake if we want to play in the postseason.”
The Bulldogs (17-22, 7-9), meanwhile, are scrapping to make the eight-team SoCon tournament.
Citadel starter Austin Pritcher (4-3) did not have the same stuff he had in last Friday’s 3-0 win over UNC Greensboro, when he pitched a complete-game four-hitter. The Cougars roughed him up for 11 hits and six earned runs over 42/3 innings.
“They had a great approach against him,” said Citadel coach Fred Jordan. “They really went backside on him and had some key hits the other way. They strung them together there in the (four-run) third, but we had a chance in the fifth. You have to credit Renfro, he did a great job of getting our No. 3 and No. 4 hitters to chase.”
Down 2-0, Charleston broke through against Pritcher with four runs in the third, after a Citadel error gave the Cougars their first baserunner of the game.
Gunnar Heidt and Gantt followed with RBI doubles for two runs, and Gantt motored right through a stop sign at third to score the go-ahead run on Bradley Goodson’s high-hop single. Brandon Murray fisted a single to left to plate Goodson with the fourth run.
Charleston added two more in the fourth as Gantt smoked a two-run double to left for a 6-2 lead, and added single runs in the fifth and sixth.
The Bulldogs broke on top in the second when Drew DeKerlegand reached on an error and raced to third on Calvin Orth’s double to the left-center gap. DeKerlegand scored on a groundout by Johnathan Stokes for a 1-0 lead.
Mackert made it 2-0 in the third, slugging a two-out home run just to the right of the “Green Monster” in left field. It was the fifth homer of the year for the Citadel senior.
Post and Courier
April 20, 2012
Marty Gantt was the only Cougars player in game uniform at Thursday’s practice, posing for a photo shoot by College of Charleston Magazine.
“Big smile. Now, a medium smile,” ordered the photographer.
Gantt, a senior center fielder, deserves the spotlight. No player has meant more to Cougars’ baseball team over the last two seasons.
“He’s been our MVP, no doubt about it,” said coach Monte Lee, whose first-place Cougars (26-12, 14-7) host The Citadel (17-21, 7-8) in a three-game Southern Conference series starting today at Patriots Point.
And in Gantt’s case, the V doesn’t stand only for valuable. He’s also the most versatile Cougar, plugging holes in the Cougars’ defense and batting order wherever Lee needs him.
“He’s the quintessential ball player,” Lee said of the 5-9, 167-pounder from North Augusta via Spartanburg Methodist. “A guy who can hit, play defense, run the bases and a guy who knows the game. Not only can Marty do all things in the game well, but he’s a student of the game. That’s what separates him from a lot of players.”
Last season, Gantt made a midseason move from right field to first base after the Cougars committed seven errors in losing two of three games to The Citadel. The move shored up the Cougars’ defense, and they won 18 of their last 25 games as Gantt batted .329 with seven homers and 44 RBIs.
This season, with centerfielder Cole Rakar gone and big bats such as Matt Leeds and Rob Kral departed, Lee penciled in Gantt in center, and in the three hole in the batting order.
But with slugger Daniel Aldrich off to a slow start and the Cougars struggling to score runs, Lee switched Gantt to the leadoff spot five games ago. The Cougars are 4-1 in those games, including a 4-3 win at No. 10 South Carolina, averaging eight runs over that stretch. And Aldrich is heating up, going 14 of 26 with eight RBIs over the last six games.
For the season, Gantt is batting .381 (fourth in the SoCon) and ranks in the league’s top five in hits (56), runs (44), doubles (15) and stolen bases (20).
“He’ll do whatever it takes to win, and he’ll do whatever I tell him to do,” Lee said. “Marty understands that what I ask him to do is going to help us win, and he’s willing to do that.”
Gantt was also a standout pitcher at North Augusta High School, where he was the Class AAAA state player of the year. What makes his career all the more remarkable is that Gantt was born with a deformed right hand, with shorter than normal fingers. He bats right and throws left with no apparent problem, and he longs to play pro ball.
“Baseball is what I’ve done all my life, so I hope I get a chance to keep playing,” he said. “I really wanted to get drafted last year, but I knew in the back of my mind I’d probably be back in school this season, and I’m glad to be here.
“But I think I can play at the next level, or at least see if I can.”
The Citadel has won four straight heading into the series, matching the Bulldogs’ longest win streak of the season. Coach Fred Jordan plans to start Austin Pritcher (4-2, 3.41 ERA), Kevin Connell (1-2, 2.83 ERA) and Logan Cribb (1-2, 4.37 ERA) on the mound.
“We’ve gained a little confidence over the last week or so,” Jordan said. “We just hope to take these games into the seventh inning, and let the last nine outs determine what happens.”
The Cougars will counter with Josh Renfro (5-3, 3.69), Christian Powell (6-2, 2.32) and Matt Pegler (6-2, 2.73).
Live 5 News
April 19, 2012
Mark Byington will return to the College of Charleston as the Associate Head Basketball Coach, the school confirmed Thursday night.
Byington has been with the school for 9 seasons under both Tom Herrion and Bobby Cremins and took over as the Interim Head Coach when Cremins took a medical leave of absence in January. After Cremins retired in March, Byington was named one of the finalists for the permanent job, but ultimately lost out to Doug Wojcik.
Wojcik made it very clear when he was hired at CofC that he wanted Byington to return. "Mark is the man" Wojcik said at his press conference "it is absolutely critical for the success of this team that he return"
Byington went 7-4 in his time as the Interim Head Coach, including a loss to Appalachian St. in the first round of the SoCon tournament. He attended Coach Wojcik's introductory press conference and said he had several options for his future. One of them was at Clemson where Brad Brownell said he had talked to Byington about one of their openings.
The school also said that Andrew Wilson is currently still on staff, but a final decision has not been made on whether or not he will return for his 7th season with the Cougars.
Fred Dupree, who spent 6 seasons at CofC under Bobby Cremins will not return next year. Jon Cremins, the Director of Basketball operations and Bobby's nephew, will also not return after a 2 year stint with the school.
Post and Courier
April 19, 2012
The College of Charleston men’s and women’s tennis programs have been a model for success in the Southern Conference.
The women’s team has posted a 29-1 regular season record, won two regular season titles and is trying to qualify for its fourth straight NCAA tournament during the Southern Conference tennis tournament that begins today at the College of Charleston and The Citadel.
The men’s tennis team has gone 28-2 during that same period and has finished first or tied for first during the regular season.
The most noticeable difference is that the men’s tennis team has not been able to win the conference tournament and gain the automatic NCAA bid since 2003.
Fifth-year men’s coach Jay Bruner said his team’s goal is the title, but the Cougars aren’t feeling any added pressure this week.
“The last three years have been fun,” said Bruner, who this week was named the Southern Conference coach of the year for the second time in three seasons. “I’ve been telling them it’s kind of like breaking serve. They’ve given themselves the opportunity.”
The College of Charleston men’s team has three seniors, including No. 1 singles player Mickael Trintignac of France who this year made first-team All-Southern Conference for the second time. Trintignac teamed with junior Kyle Parker to make first-team all-SoCon in doubles. The other seniors are Tom Delme of Belgium and Chris Toussaint of Charlotte.
The women’s team, whose only loss in the regular season this year was 5-2 at No. 1 seed UNC Greensboro, hopes to continue its streak of tournament success.
The Cougars have beaten Furman three straight years to win the tournament, including a 4-3 win last year.
“We play the winner of Elon-Wofford (at The Citadel) and either one of those teams will be a great challenge,” said Angelo Anastopoulo, who was the league’s coach or co-coach of the year in 2010 and 2011. “If we can get back to our home court, we’ll go from there.”
Admission is free and Anastopoulo, who also is director of tennis for the school, said he is hoping for a good turnout.
“I think that the people who went to the Family Circle Cup would really enjoy college tennis a lot more,” he said. “There’s a lot more cheering and excitement, seeing college kids, true student-athletes, competing and dealing with the emotions as a team. It’s exciting to see.”
Post and Courier
April 18, 2012
COLUMBIA — Daniel Aldrich figured that by the time he gathered his bat and glove and opened his bag after Tuesday’s 4-3 College of Charleston win at South Carolina, his cell phone would already show a missed call from his father, Charlie.
Aldrich, a third-year sophomore from Wando High, had one of the most memorable games of his career, as he was 2 for 4 with a two-run home run in the first inning that sparked a victory over the two-time defending national champions.
But Charlie, who lettered in baseball at USC from 1985-87, didn’t get out of work in time to drive to Columbia, so he had to settle for watching on television at home in Mount Pleasant. He surely liked what he saw, as his son once again crushed the ball against his alma mater — and the school where Daniel was once committed to play, as well.
“It’s a big win for our program, a signature win for us,” Aldrich said. “It was an awesome experience to beat a program like (South Carolina).”
Charleston (26-12) lost 7-0 at home earlier this month to USC, was 5-45 all-time against the Gamecocks entering Tuesday and hadn’t defeated them since 2007. Under fourth-year coach Monte Lee, who was a USC assistant from 2003-08, the Cougars were 0-6 against the Gamecocks and had lost by a combined score of 79-18, including 24-4 last year in Columbia.
This USC team (27-11) seems a bit more mortal than the previous two. The No. 9 Gamecocks — who left 13 runners on base Tuesday, including two after they scored two runs in the eighth to cut the lead to 4-3 — have now lost three midweek games. They also lost to Wofford and Division II Francis Marion. USC lost two midweek games last season, none in 2010 and three in 2009.
But Aldrich will happily take the win, for which the Cougars’ senior starting pitcher, Ryan West, can also take a good deal of credit. West allowed three hits and a run in six innings. He struck out seven batters and walked two. He took a tough loss against USC earlier this season when he gave up six hits and two runs in five innings.
“We had a better idea of what we were going to do with them after last time,” said West.
While West improved from his last outing against USC, Aldrich kept up his torrid hitting against the Gamecocks, whose starting pitcher, Noland Belcher, gave up four runs and three homers in 22/3 innings.
Last season, Aldrich went 3 for 7 in two games against USC, with a solo homer in each contest. He downplayed the notion that he hits well against USC because his family ties and previous commitment add excitement to the games.
“I don’t think it has anything to do with that,” he said.
Aldrich said he decided USC wasn’t “the right fit” and decided not to come. He signed with Wake Forest, didn’t have the grades to get in there, then called Lee midway through spring of his senior year and landed at his hometown college, and Lee’s alma mater.
Lee talked after Tuesday’s game about how he mainly felt happy for his players, who he said “believe we can play with anybody in the country.” He did admit that it was “a special win for me,” in part because of all the fond memories he has of working under USC coach Ray Tanner, including College World Series appearances in Lee’s first two seasons on the staff.
“Pretty much everything I do as a baseball coach I learned from coach (Ray) Tanner,” Lee said. “I owe him my career.”