Cougars Host No. 30 Campbell, Georgia At Patriots Point
The CofC starting pitching continued its dominance as Jake Zokan, Ryan West and Matt Pegler all recorded quality starts. The trio has now made quality starts in seven of the last eight weekend games with a combined ERA of 1.84 in that stretch.
Pegler was the best of the three as he earned a partial shutout, going seven innings and allowing just two hits while striking out a career-high 10 batters in CofC’s 3-0 rubber game victory. He earned SoCon Pitcher of the Week honors for his strong performance.
Five different Cougars hit home runs at Wofford, however CofC also struck out 38 times in the three-game series.
Campbell was ranked No. 30 in the recent Collegiate Baseball national poll, making the Camels the third ranked team to play at College of Charleston’s Patriots Point this season. CofC is 2-3 against ranked teams and 4-7 against the RPI Top 50 this season.
Both mid-week games will be aired on ESPN 910 AM with Jeff McCarragher and Rob Harding on the call. The games will be shown on the Charleston Sports Network at CofCSports.com.
PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS
TBA Campbell TBA
RHP #28 Drew Freie CofC 4-4, 4.93 ERA, 42.0 IP, 18 BB, 30 K
RHP #18 Bryan Benzor Georgia 3-2, 4.50 ERA, 42.0 IP, 11 BB, 19 K
RHP #20 Nathan Helvey CofC 4-2, 2.68 ERA, 40.1 IP, 10 BB, 21 K
SERIES VS. CAMPBELL/GEORGIA
College of Charleston is 11-12 versus Campbell all-time, with the Cougars last facing the Fighting Camels in 2004, winning both games at Patriots Point. This is only the third meeting between Georgia and CofC since the 1991 reinstatement. The Bulldogs won both games in 2003 at Georgia by scores of 15-5 and 10-2.
SCOUTING THE FIGHTING CAMELS
No. 30 Campbell will enter Patriots Point as the third ranked opponent for CofC this season (South Alabama, South Carolina). The leaders of the Big South conference rank 13th in the nation in batting average and 10th in runs. Despite their record, Campbell has only played one team in the RPI Top 50 and only six in the RPI Top 100.
Ben McQuown ranks sixth in the country with 56 runs scored, and leads the nation in steals with 44. Clayton Brown ranks third in the country with a .427 batting average.
SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS
Georgia comes into this week in last place in the SEC after a rain-filled weekend that only saw them play a single game against Tennessee. The Bulldogs are 2-5 against SoCon squads this season.
Georgia’s leading hitter, senior All-SEC third baseman Curt Powell (.387-0-20), ranks second in the SEC with 72 hits and fifth in batting average. Currently, Powell and sophomore LHP/OF Jared Walsh have six-game hitting streaks.
NEW YEAR, SAME ERA
College of Charleston surprised many with its dominating pitching staff which led the SoCon in multiple categories in 2012. With five pitchers of that staff departed, including four to the minor leagues, some expected 2013 to be a rebuilding year for CofC pitching. However, this season the Cougars are first in the conference with a staff ERA of 4.05. They are first in opposing batting average (.260), first in strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.62) and first in walks allowed (138).
STRONG STARTING ROTATION
Despite injuries and other factors affecting the Cougars’ weekend rotation, starters Matt Pegler, Jake Zokan, Nathan Helvey and Ryan West have led yet another strong pitching campaign for the Cougars. The foursome have combined for 21 quality starts (Pegler 6, Zokan 6, Helvey 5, West 4) with a combined starter ERA of 3.05 with 191 strikeouts against just 40 walks for K-to-BB ratio of 4.78. They have now made quality starts in seven of the last eight weekend games with a combined ERA of 1.84 in that stretch.
Zokan is currently second in the SoCon with a 2.61 ERA, and he is second in the league in strikeouts looking (28).
Ryan West has only allowed 11 earned runs in his six starts this season, which have come in the last month. In his last five starts, four have been quality and he has averaged 8.2 strikeouts per start.
Matt Pegler won SoCon Pitcher of the Week honors (5/6) after he had a career-high 10 strikeouts in a shutout of Wofford. He allowed just two singles in seven innings of work with just one walk.
DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS
All season, head coach Monte Lee has preached the importance of aggressive hitting, strike-throwing and strong defense. The Cougars have been living up to the bill on defense over the past month. CofC currently ranks second in the SoCon with a fielding percentage of .966.
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR?
College of Charleston has won either the Player, Pitcher or Freshman of the Year every year in the Southern Conference dating back to 2002. With the Cougars leaving for the CAA next season, CofC freshman Nathan Helvey is the Cougars’ best bet for CofC’s 12th straight yearly award. Helvey ranks second in the league with a 2.68 ERA and second with an opponent batting average of just .230. After missing several starts with an elbow injury, he returns to the mound this week vs. Georgia.
MURRAY WINS NATIONAL HONOR
Brandon Murray was named the Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week after he set a new school record with nine RBI in a single game at Davidson (4/14). He hit a grand slam, a three-run HR and a two-run double in the game. The nine RBI was the third-most by an NCAA player in a single game in 2013. Murray is third in the SoCon with 35 walks, and now ranks fourth in the league with 49 RBI.
Against SoCon-only competition, Murray ranks first in batting average (.432), second in slugging (.784), second in on-base percentage (.543) and third in RBI (29).
STARTED FROM THE BOTTOM, NOW HE’S HERE
Despite being near the bottom of last year’s lineup in offensive statistics, sophomore SS Gunnar Heidt now has a team-high .351 batting average with 45 runs scored and a SoCon-high six triples, which currently ties him for seventh nationally. He has a .548 slugging percentage with 48 RBIs. He was named the SoCon Player of the Month for March.
Cody Martin has become the “Lone Ranger” of the Cougar offense as the only senior in the everyday batting lineup. Martin has battled injury this season, but he has been very effective since returning vs. Davidson. He has a .339 average and .589 slugging percentage in the last 13 games. He set a new career high with four hits and three RBI vs. Coastal Carolina.
A WISE MAN ONCE SAID...
...put Carl Wise into the starting lineup. Since becoming an everyday starter vs. UNCG, true freshman Wise has hit .377 with 11 RBI and a team-best .607 slugging percentage. He now ranks fifth in the SoCon with a .451 on-base percentage. In those 17 games, Wise has seven extra-base hits and has tallied hits in all but two contests.
MR. BUTLER AT YOUR SERVICE
True freshman Blake Butler has been an important infield cog this season, starting every game at second since the second weekend of the season. He is hitting .299 with a .414 on-base percentage and hits .450 when leading off an inning. His defense has been strong too as he has just four errors in 187 chances.
PHILLY FROM NYC
Redshirt-freshman Morgan Phillips played well defensively in center field and been a power producer at the plate. Although Phillips has struggled with strikeouts, he has a .397 BABIP (batting average on balls in play) and is currently slugging .483 with a team-high 13 doubles.
DON’T LEAVE BEFORE STRETCHING
College of Charleston has played 23 games that have either been decided or one-run games in the seventh inning or later. The Cougars are 10-13 in these close games so far this season. The Cougars went to extra innings three times in two weeks, defeating UNCG but falling to Coastal Carolina and Davidson in extras. Charleston is 3-7 in one-run games and 2-3 in extra-inning games this season. Cougar relief pitchers have accounted for 24 decisions this year, going 12-12 as a bullpen.
CLIMBING BACK UP THE STANDINGS
The 2013 has not necessarily shown the measure of success that Charleston baseball has had in the last decade. The Cougars longest winning streak is only three games with just a single series sweep this season. However, CofC has climbed back in the SoCon standings and are just a half-game out of second place.
Since 2004, Charleston has finished below third place just once in the SoCon standings. The Cougars won the regular season in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2012.
THAT FOURTH INNING THING...AGAIN?
Last season, College of Charleston was a remarkable 31-3 when leading after the fourth inning and 3-17 when trailing after the fourth. Despite a number of close games, that trend has continued in 2013. The Cougars are 22-5 when holding a lead after the fourth, and 2-13 when trailing after the fourth inning.
COUGARS SHAVE HEADS FOR VS. CANCER
After Sunday’s 8-2 win over Radford, 42 Cougar players, coaches and staff shaved their heads in support of Vs. Cancer, a foundation that raises money for childhood cancer research.
Although the head-shaving is over, fans can still donate to the cause on the website or at a home game.