Baseball Stages Ninth-Inning Rally for 5-4 Victory over Georgia Southern
MT. PLEASANT, S.C. - Junior C Rob Kral (Randolph, N.J./Randolph) ripped a RBI single into right field, scoring sophomore 3B Matt Leeds (Boca Raton, Fla./American Heritage) as College of Charleston plated two runs in the bottom of the ninth for a 5-4 come-from-behind victory over visiting Georgia Southern Friday evening at Patriots Point. The win improves the Cougars to 21-7 overall, 6-4 in the Southern Conference, while Georgia Southern falls to 15-12, 7-3.
Down 4-3 heading into the bottom of the ninth, junior CF Cole Rakar (Mt. Pleasant, S.C./Wando) led off with a single into right field. Leeds followed up with a RBI double to deep center the scored Rakar from first and put the winning run at second. After Georgia Southern starter Jake Brown retired junior LF Jose Rodriguez (Hialeah, Fla./Broward College), Kral took a 1-0 pitch through the right side and set off the celebration in the Cougars' dugout.
The Eagles opened the scoring with a single run in the top of the first frame, as Kyle Blackburn lined a RBI double down the right-field line that scored Arthur Owens. CofC responded with a solo home run by Rakar to left in the bottom of the inning, knotting the score at 1-1.
Charleston pulled ahead with two more runs in the fourth on Leeds' 11th round-tripper of the season, a two-run shot to left center that gave the Cougars a 3-1 advantage. The lead held until the top of the eighth, when Georgia Southern plated three runs to surge ahead 4-3. Kevin Bowles' RBI single up the middle with two runners on scored the first run, while Owens came home from third on a wild pitch by Charleston freshman Christian Powell (Greenwood, S.C./Greenwood). Blackburn put the Eagles ahead with a RBI single to right that scored Bowles.
Senior reliever Tom Schiller (Rochester, N.Y./Monroe CC) pitched a perfect ninth to earn the win, improving to 4-0 on the season. The right-hander fanned two batters in the final frame to give the Cougars an opportunity for the late-game heroics. Powell tossed eight strong innings, scattering seven hits and allowing the four runs, two earned, with two strikeouts. Leeds finished the game with three hits and three RBI, while Rakar went 3-for-4 with three runs scored.
Brown went the distance for Georgia Southern, allowing eight hits and five runs with eight strikeouts. Blackburn had two hits and two RBI, while Michael Burruss added two hits for the Eagles.
The Cougars and Georgia Southern return to action Saturday afternoon for game two of the series. First pitch is set for 1:00 p.m.