Cougars Score 12 Unanswered Runs in 19-5 Victory over Furman
GREENVILLE, S.C. - Sophomore RHP David Peterson (Walnut Creek, Calif./Los Lomas) held Furman to four runs in 6-2/3 innings and junior CF Cole Rakar (Mt. Pleasant, S.C./Wando) added four hits to pace College of Charleston to a 19-5 win over the Paladins Sunday afternoon at Latham Stadium. Junior C Rob Kral (Randolph, N.J./Randolph) and freshman PH Dre Watts (Laurens, S.C./Laurens) both knocked home runs as the Cougars improved to 24-10 overall and 9-6 in the Southern Conference.
Rakar led off the game with a single to right field and senior SS Joey Bergman (Jacksonville, Fla./Bishop Kenny) and sophomore 3B Matt Leeds (Boca Raton, Fla./American Heritage) reached on a hit-by-pitch and walk, respectively. Kral lifted a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Rakar for an early 1-0 lead.
Furman (11-21, 5-10 SoCon) evaporated the lead with four runs in the third inning, to take a three-run advantage. Back-to-back singles by Rob Fondu and Will Owens put runners at first and second for Aaron Thompkins who would reach on fielder's choice as the throw to second by Peterson went into center, allowing Fondu to score and move Owens to third. Owens would score the Paladins' second run on a wild pitch and Will Muzika lined a RBI triple down the right-field line for a 3-1 Furman lead. Two batters later, Dylan Cole's RBI groundout to short scored the fourth Paladin run of the inning.
The Cougars roared back with 12 unanswered runs in the next four innings to secure the win. Charleston loaded the bases in the fourth with the first three batters. Senior 1B Greg Blake (Westerly, R.I./Lake City CC) and junior 2B Baker Knox (San Mateo, Fla./ Daytona Beach CC) were both hit by a pitch and junior RF Hutson Dodds (Charleston, S.C./Porter Gaud) beat out a bunt single to fill the bases. Rakar reached on a fielding error by Furman SS J.B. Jenkins, advancing the runners and scoring Blake. Bergman added a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Knox and Leeds doubled down the left-field line to bring home two more runs and give CofC a 5-4 lead.
Charleston added two runs in the fifth and a single run in the sixth, before exploding for five in the seventh. Junior DH Kolby Epley (Yadkinville, N.C./Forbush) scored from third when Dodds grounded into a double play with no outs in the fifth and Rakar roped a RBI double to right in the inning, while Kral's solo home run to right in the sixth gave the Cougars an 8-4 lead after six innings.
CofC tallied five runs in the seventh on only two hits, taking a commanding 13-4 lead into the final two frames. Sophomore PH Thomas Brittle (Cross, S.C./Berkeley) scored from third on a throwing error by Cole as he overthrew second on a steal attempt by Rakar. Bergman came home on a wild pitch and Epley cleared the bases on a three-run double to right to end the scoring in the inning.
Furman plated a single run in the eighth on a RBI double to right by Reese Wade, but the Cougars erased all hopes of a rally by the home team with a six-run ninth to put the game out of reach. Sophomore LF Jose Rodriguez (Hialeah, Fla./Broward College) and Kral knocked back-to-back singles to lead off the inning and Watts pinch-hit for Epley and blasted a three-run home run to left center on the first pitch he faced. Charleston added two more runs on a pair of errors by Furman and another on a sacrifice fly to right by Rodriguez.
Peterson improved to 4-2 with the win, scattering eight hits and striking out three with one walk. Three Cougars pitchers contributed in relief, allowing only two hits and one run in the final 2.1 innings. Daniel Stallsmith took the loss for Furman, giving up seven runs and seven hits in four innings and hitting four Charleston batters.
The Cougars return to action Tuesday, April 13, at USC-Upstate in Spartanburg. Game time for the non-conference tilt is set for 6:00 p.m.