MT. PLEASANT, S.C. - The diamond Cougars exploded for a six-run fourth inning to put away Samford and win Sunday's rubber game by a score of 10-5, taking the series 2-1 over the Bulldogs.
The victory helped the Cougars improve to 25-12 on the season and 14-7 in SoCon, while it snapped a streak of two weekend series losses for College of Charleston. Samford fell to 21-15 and 10-8 in SoCon play.
Despite surrendering three runs in the top of the first inning, the Cougars tied the game with three runs in the bottom of the first and another six runs in the fourth inning to put the game away. It marked the second time in the series that CofC had answered an opening Samford salvo with a response in the bottom of the inning.
CofC starter Matt Pegler (6-2) settled down after the first inning and got into a groove, holding the Bulldogs off the scoreboard until a solo home run in the sixth frame. Pegler earned the win after pitching 6.0 innings, allowing just four hits and two earned runs. Kyle Owings and David Peterson each came on in relief, with Owings allowing a solo home run in the eighth inning and Peterson threw a perfect ninth frame.
Offensively, Daniel Aldrich led the way with another multi-hit game, going 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBIs. He finished the weekend with an impressive .538 batting average, scoring five runs and tallying four RBI. Marty Gantt landed two hits, one for an RBI, while also scoring two runs. Gantt boosted his season run total to 43, which leads the Southern Conference.
Bradley Goodson closed out his strong weekend with two runs and an RBI, as he finished the series with a team-best .556 average. Jimmy Holton tallied two hits and scored a run and drove in one, while Brandon Glazer and Dre Watts each registered two RBIs.
Samford starter Kyle Putkonen (2-5) was tagged for six runs, five earned, in just 3.0 innings pitched. He also walked four batters and threw two wild pitches. Outfielder Brandon Miller hit two solo home runs for Samford, his league-leading 13th and 14th long balls of the season. C.K. Irby also tallied two RBIs for the Bulldogs.
Samford amassed three runs in the first inning after Brad Moss walked and Phillip Ervin doubled to left. After a walk to Saxon Butler, Pegler struck out Brandon Miller with the bases loaded and one out, but a passed ball against C.K. Irby allowed Moss to score and the runners to advance. Irby took advantage with a two-out single to put Samford ahead 3-0.
College of Charleston responded in the bottom of the first, as walks to Gantt and Goodson put runners on for Aldrich who loaded the bases with a single. Rob Harding walked in a run and Watts drove in Goodson with a fielders choice groundout. Glazer kept the inning going with a two-out single to score Aldrich and tie the game three apiece.
After both pitchers seemed to settle in, the Cougars jumped on Samford in the fourth inning for six runs on four hits and an error. Gunnar Heidt led off the inning by reaching first on an error by the shortstop and Holton laid down a stellar bunt that found the hole for a hit. A wild pitch advanced the runners for Gantt who singled in Heidt to give the Cougars the lead. Two batters later with the bases loaded, Goodson was hit by a pitch to score a run and then Aldrich singled to score two more. Watts and Glazer drove in two more runs and the Cougars led, 9-3.
The Bulldogs got one run back on a solo home run from Miller in the sixth, but the Cougars responded with an RBI single from Holton in the seventh. Miller homered again in the eighth inning, but the game was already out of reach.
College of Charleston will hit the road on Tuesday for a game at South Carolina. Game time is slated for 7 p.m. and it will be telecast on SportSouth and aired live on ESPN 910 AM.