Nick Chigges recorded his 300th career strikeout and Graham Maiden and Ben Lasater homered as 30th-ranked College of Charleston downed Furman, 12-3, in the opener of its three-game Southern Conference series before 738 at Patriots Point Field on Friday.
Charleston improved to 30-9 overall and 11-2 in league play, while the Paladins fell to 11-27 and 6-10. The Cougars reach the 30-win plateau for the sixth consecutive season. The second game of the series is Saturday at 6:00.
Chigges became just the second player in school history to reach 300 strikeouts. Scott Oliver (1996-99) had 341 in his career. Chigges (7-0), who retired 11 in a row and 17 out of 18 batters at one point in the game, picked up the win working eight innings allowing five hits, three runs, one earned, with eight strikeouts. He improved his career record to 27-4 and his career strikeout total to 303. Marc DeDecker (1-3) was the starter and loser for the Paladins.
Maiden capped the Cougars' first inning with a grand slam to right field, his sixth of the season, to stake Charleston to a 5-0 lead.
The Paladins added a pair of unearned runs in the second on a sacrifice fly by Spence Gibbs and a throwing error by Chigges.
Charleston scored three times in the bottom of the second to take an 8-2 lead. Stuart Haywood had an RBI single and later scored on a wild pitch, and Lasater added a run-scoring single to right.
Haywood added another RBI single in the fifth and Joey Bergman a two-run double in the seventh that stretched Charleston's advantage to 11-3. Furman had cut the margin to 9-3 on an RBI single in the top of the seventh by Connor Lind.
Lasater belted his club-leading 11th homer of the season with one out in the eighth, a towering blast to left, for the final margin.