HOUSTON – College of Charleston baseball rallied with two runs in the eighth and ninth innings, but ultimately came up short in a 3-2 loss to Houston on Saturday afternoon.
College of Charleston’s Carl Wise hit a ninth-inning, two-out double to left field with Blake Butler standing at second as the game’s tying run. Butler came home to score, but was then ruled out on an appeal to third base that he did not touch the bag. The appeal was upheld as the third out of the game and gave Houston a 3-2 victory over College of Charleston.
CofC (16-6) had several opportunities throughout the game to score the tying run against a Houston (18-4) pitching staff that ranks third in the nation in ERA.
Charleston left 11 runners on base and had runners in scoring position with less than two outs in four different innings before breaking through for a run in the eighth frame.
Starting pitchers for both teams dueled in a strong pitching matchup as UH’s Jake Lemoine (4-1) came away with the win and CofC’s Bailey Ober (4-1) suffered his first loss of the season. Ober recorded his third quality start of the season as he went six innings and allowed just two runs on six hits, striking out four. Ober did allow his first walk of the season, coming after 30.1 consecutive innings without a walk to start his collegiate campaign.
Lemoine was also impressive as he allowed just one hit through five shutout innings. Although he struck out six batters, he also walked five batters which led to him getting pulled with the bases loaded and no outs in the sixth inning. UH’s Tyler Ford came in and escaped that inning with no damage, and Chase Wellbrock (6) finished the game to earn the save, despite allowing a run in the ninth.
Charleston’s Gunnar Heidt hit his third home run of the season, a no-doubt bomb in the eighth inning that brought CofC to within 3-1. College of Charleston then used consecutive singles from Morgan Phillips and Butler to put runners on the corners with no out in the ninth inning. Brandon Murray, who extended his reached streak to 19 games with a double and a walk, knocked a sacrifice fly ball to right that scored Phillips and CofC was within one run at 3-2.
With one out and Heidt at the dish, Butler took off for second and slid under the tag despite a pitchout from the Houston battery. After a flyout to left, Wise came to the plate as CofC’s last hope with two outs and a runner on second. Wise lined a grounder off the glove of Houston shortstop Josh Vidales and the ball rolled into foul territory. Butler rounded third and came home to score the tying run and Wise advanced to second standing up.
However, Houston appealed the play by stepping on third and Butler was ruled out on appeal for not touching the base, nullifying the tying run and giving Houston a 3-2 win.
CofC and Houston will play the final game of the series on Sunday at 12 p.m. ET/ 11 a.m. CT. Sophomore Nathan Helvey will take the mound for Charleston.