The loss put the College of Charleston into the loser's bracket where the Cougars will have to avoid a second loss or be eliminated from the tournament. The Cougars will play at 10 a.m. tomorrow morning against the loser of the Georgia Southern-Elon game.
Despite trailing 6-2 heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, the Cougars rallied with a two-out, three-RBI double from pinch-hitter Tyler Jackson to bring the score to 6-5. SoCon Player of the Year Marty Gantt then singled to left field to score pinch-runner Blake Ross and the game was tied at six apiece.
The Citadel eventually won the game with two runs in the top of the 11th inning, thanks to a leadoff single from Joe Jackson and a fielder's choice groundout from pitcher TJ Clarkson. Clarkson then came around to score the winning run on a double from Tyler Griffin, and would pitch a perfect bottom half of the inning to earn his fourth win of the season.
"It was a tough way to lose the game today," head coach Monte Lee said. "We got off to a tough start and made some costly defensive mistakes. They capitalized on it and they took advantage of our mistakes, so you have to give them credit."
The Bulldogs led for most of the game after scoring two runs in both the first and second innings to build a 4-0 lead. All but one of the runs were unearned as the Cougars committed three errors and starter Christian Powell allowed four hits in the first two frames.
However, the Cougars answered with a run in the bottom of the third with a two-out single from Daniel Aldrich that scored Jimmy Holton from second base. CofC manufactured another run in the fourth inning when Rob Harding reached on a leadoff walk, went to second on a single from Brandon Glazer and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly from Cody Martin, making the score 4-2.
Griffin pushed the Bulldog lead back to three runs with an RBI triple in the fifth that scored Bo Thompson from first. The Cougars were able to get out of the inning on a bang-bang play in right field as Aldrich slipped on a fly ball, but made the catch with his bare hand and threw out Thompson by appeal at third base, preserving the 5-2 margin.
The Citadel notched the first home run of the 2012 tournament in the eighth inning with a solo shot over the left field Fenway-replica fence by Justin Mackert, pushing the margin to 6-2.
CofC was able to rally in the bottom of the frame when Aldrich walked, Glazer was hit by a pitch and Dre Watts singled to load the bases for Jackson. His three-RBI double pushed his season total to 21 runners batted in. Gantt's single on the next play to tie the game was his 41st RBI of the year. Glazer was the only Cougar to tally more than one hit in the game.
After a scoreless 10th inning, the Bulldogs got to CofC reliever David Peterson with a leadoff single from Jackson and Griffin's RBI double to right center to score the go-ahead run. Citadel added another run in the inning when Glazer went to first on a grounder down the line and threw the ball wide of the bag.
Griffin finished with three hits and two RBI while Mackert tallied three RBI with a solo home run.
The Bulldogs managed to get the leadoff runner aboard in eight of the game's 11 innings. College of Charleston's four errors marked a new season high.
The game was the second straight contest between the schools that went to extra innings after the Cougars took a 6-5 win in the 11th inning on April 22. The contest also marked the fourth time in the last five years that the opening game of the tournament went to extra innings. The Cougars defeated Appalachian State, 12-11, in an extra inning first-round tournament game in 2010.