MT. PLEASANT, S.C. – Georgia limited College of Charleston to just three runs and used to a three-run second inning to take a 5-3 win over the Cougars on Wednesday night at Patriots Point.
The Bulldogs (18-28) tallied 14 hits in the contest and did not allow a College of Charleston (26-22) run after the fourth inning.
Freshman Nathan Helvey (4-3) made his return from a month-long injury, but picked up the loss in 2.2 innings pitched. He surrendered three runs on six hits and struck out two. Redshirt-junior Derrick Smith also made his first appearance of the season, pitching three innings and allowing one run and three hits.
Georgia’s Ross Ripple (2-1) picked up the win as he came in the third inning and pitched two innings, giving up one run. However, the rest of the Georgia bullpen thwarted CofC’s comeback efforts and Jarrett Brown (3) earned the save with two strikeouts in the ninth inning.
Gunnar Heidt had another big day at the plate for CofC, tallying a double and single with an RBI and a run. Blake Butler had two hits with an RBI, and Brandon Murray smacked a big double but was stranded at third.
The Bulldogs’ Zack Bowers and Daniel Nichols each hit home runs to left field. Hunter Cole and Brett DeLoach each registered three hits for the SEC visitors.
"I thought we played OK today," head coach Monte Lee said. "But we just have to take advantage of run-scoring opportunities when we have them, and stay away from the crooked numbers on the pitching side. If we hold them under three in the second inning, then maybe the game goes a little differently."
College of Charleston jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning with an RBI single from Heidt and then a groundout RBI from Carl Wise that scored Heidt.
However, the Bulldogs responded in the second when Bowers hit a two-run bomb to left field after an RBI single from Jeff Posey.
The two squads traded runs in the fourth inning with Georgia’s coming off an RBI groundout from Cole, and CofC’s run by way of a two-out RBI single from Butler that scored Morgan Phillips.
Both teams’ pitching staffs were solid until the seventh frame when Georgia’s Nichols led off with a high-fly solo shot to left field, making it 5-3. Charleston was not able to respond and Brown earned the save with a perfect ninth inning.
The Cougars step back into conference play this weekend with a huge series at The Citadel at Joseph P. Riley Park in downtown Charleston. Only a half-game separates the local rivals for second place in the Southern Conference. Friday’s game begins at 4 p.m. because of a doubleheader with the Charleston RiverDogs.