MT. PLEASANT, S.C. – #18 College of Charleston jumped out to an 4-0 first-inning lead and added three more in the fourth to hold off Western Kentucky University Friday night 7-5 in the CofC Classic at Patriots Point. Junior RHP David Peterson (Walnut Creek, Calif.) picked up the win for the Cougars, who improve to 9-1 on the season.
Senior CF Cole Rakar (Mt. Pleasant, S.C.) was hit by a pitch to lead off the game and junior RF Marty Gantt (North Augusta, S.C.) singled to right to advance Rakar to second. Redshirt-junior 3B Matt Leeds (Boca Raton, Fla.) ripped a two-run double to right center to put the Cougars on the board and moved to third on a wild pitch by WKU starter Tanner Perkins. Redshirt-junior 1B Jose Rodriguez (Hialeah, Fla.) brought home Leeds with a RBI groundout to short. CofC manufactured the fourth run after back-to-back singles by senior 2B Jesse Mesa (Mirimar, Fla.) and redshirt-freshman Daniel Aldrich (Mt. Pleasant, S.C.) put runners at first and third. On a steal attempt by Mesa, Aldrich scored from third before Mesa was tagged out in a rundown for the third out of the frame.
WKU scored a pair of runs in the second inning on RBI singles by Ryan Huck and Logan Robbins to cut the Cougars’ lead to 4-2 and knotted the score at four runs apiece with two more in the fourth. An RBI triple by Jared Andreoli and a RBI groundout to third by Ivan Hartle accounted for the Hilltoppers runs in the fourth.
Charleston plated three more in the bottom half of the fourth, using a pair of WKU errors to take a 7-4 lead. Senior SS Jamie Holler (Rock Hill, S.C.) drove home junior PH Rob Harding (Columbia, S.C.) on a throwing error by the shortstop and Mesa scored on a sacrifice fly to left by Rakar. A RBI single through the right side by redshirt-junior DH Rob Kral (Randolph, N.J.) brought in Holler for the three-run advantage.
The Hilltoppers closed the scoring with a single run in the sixth, as Huck scored on an inning-ending double play.
Eight Cougar batters accounted for the team’s nine hits, with Leeds grabbing a pair of hits on the evening, along with two RBIs.
The Cougars return to action in the CofC Classic tomorrow afternoon against Auburn. First pitch is set for 1:00 p.m. Sunday’s 11:00 a.m. contest between Western Kentucky and Auburn has been rescheduled to Saturday night at 8:00 p.m. due to the impending storm approaching the Charleston area.