MT. PLEASANT, S.C. - Five different College of Charleston batters hit home runs, including a three-run blast by sophomore RF Thomas Brittle (Cross, S.C./Berkeley) in a five-run fourth inning, as the Cougars earned a sweep of visiting Georgia Southern with an 11-8 victory Sunday afternoon at Patriots Point. CofC improves to 23-7 overall and 8-4 in the Southern Conference, while the Eagles fall to 15-14, 7-5 in the SoCon.
Georgia Southern jumped to an early lead, scoring three runs in the opening inning off Charleston sophomore RHP David Peterson (Walnut Creek, Calif./Los Lomas). Kevin Bowles singled up the middle and Kyle Blackburn followed up with another single moving Bowles to second. A.J. Wirnsberger roped a RBI double to left center and Eric Phillips added a RBI groundout to third for a 2-0 lead. Michael Burress singled through the right side, bringing home Wirnsberger for an early 3-0 advantage.
Charleston got one run back in the second on a leadoff home run to right center by sophomore 3B Matt Leeds (Boca Raton, Fla./American Heritage), but the Eagles restored the three-run cushion on a RBI single to center by Steve Cochrane in the top of the third.
The Cougars used the long ball to knot the score at 4-4 in the bottom of the third, as senior 1B Greg Blake (Westerly, R.I./Lake City CC) put a 0-1 pitch over the wall in left center to cut the deficit to 4-2. With two outs, junior CF Cole Rakar (Mt. Pleasant, S.C./Wando) doubled to left center and junior C Rob Kral (Randolph, N.J./Randolph) tied the game with a two-run shot to left center on a 2-1 pitch from Georgia Southern starter Andy Moye.
Georgia Southern pulled ahead in the top of the fourth on a RBI double by Blackburn that made the score 5-4, but the Cougars dialed up the long ball again, crushing two more home runs in the bottom of the frame for a 9-5 lead. Junior 2B Baker Knox (San Mateo, Fla./Daytona Beach CC) ripped a solo shot to right center, his third of the season and junior DH Kolby Epley (Yadkinville, N.C./Forbush) walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch before Blake picked up a free pass on five pitches. Brittle then came to the plate and deposited a 3-1 pitch over the right-field wall for a three-run home run, his second round-tripper of the year.
Justin Hess relieved Moye and issued a walk to Rakar, who stole second and Kral picked up another free pass and Leeds singled through the right side to score Rakar and give the Cougars the four-run lead. Georgia Southern cut the Cougars' lead to 9-7 in the sixth, plating runs on a RBI triple by Wirnsberger and a RBI double by Phillips.
The Eagles continued to chip away, pulling within one in the seventh on a RBI groundout by Arthur Owens, but Charleston added single runs in the seventh and eighth to secure the victory. Knox lined a RBI double down the left-field line in the seventh, while Rakar roped a RBI double to right in the eighth.
Peterson earned a hard-fought victory to improve to 3-2 on the season, allowing 13 hits and seven runs, five earned in six innings. Senior reliever Tom Schiller (Rochester, N.Y./Monroe CC) tossed 2.2 innings of hitless relief for his first save of the season. Brittle went 3-for-4 on the afternoon with two runs scored, while Rakar, Leeds and Knox each added two hits. Moye took the loss for Georgia Southern, allowing eight runs on six hits in 3.1 innings with four strikeouts.
The Cougars return to action Wednesday evening as they travel to Columbia to face South Carolina at Carolina Stadium. SportSouth will televise the 7:00 p.m. game and the radio broadcast can be found on ESPN Radio 910-AM and can also be heard live on the internet at www.CofCSports.com. Ted Byrne will be handling the broadcasting duties for the baseball season.