CHARLESTON, S.C. – The College of Charleston pounded out 23 hits, but the Cougars’ bullpen allowed 10 runs in the last two innings as The Citadel picked up a 17-14 win Saturday afternoon at Riley Park. Charleston junior starter Josh Renfro (Bradenton, Fla.) recorded a career-high nine strikeouts, but the Cougars fall to 20-11 overall and 6-5 in the Southern Conference.
Charleston opened the game with a run in the top of the first as junior RF Marty Gantt (N. Augusta, S.C.) and senior CF Cole Rakar (Mt. Pleasant, S.C.) hit back-to-back singles and redshirt-freshman LF Daniel Aldrich (Mt. Pleasant, S.C.) reached on a fielding error by Bulldog 2B Josh Pless that sent the ball into right, allowing Gantt to score for a 1-0 Charleston lead.
The Citadel (12-19, 7-10 SoCon) took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the frame as Nick Orvin doubled to right and Renfro hit Drew DeKerlegand with a pitch to put runners at first and second. A throwing error by redshirt-junior 3B Matt Leeds (Boca Raton, Fla.) on a sacrifice bunt by Matt Simonelli allowed Orvin to score and advanced both runners into scoring position. Another sacrifice bunt, by William Ladd, plated DeKerlegand for a 2-1 Bulldog lead.
The Cougars rallied back in the third, scoring three times to take a 4-2 lead. Leeds led off with a single to short and advanced on a throwing error by Simonelli. With Aldrich at bat, Leeds moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a RBI single by redshirt-junior LF Jose Rodriguez (Hialeah, Fla.). Junior 2B Rob Harding (Columbia, S.C.) executed the hit and run with a single to right and moving Rodriguez to third. A two-run double to right center by senior SS Jamie Holler (Rock Hill, S.C.) cleared the bases and put the Cougars up by two.
A pair of runs in the fourth by the Bulldogs evened the game at 4-4 and Charleston pulled ahead again in the fifth, scoring twice for a 6-4 lead. After Holler singled to right center, senior C Robert Pritcher (Charleston, S.C.) knocked a two-run home run off his younger brother and Bulldog starting RHP Austin Pritcher.
After The Citadel cut the Cougars’ lead to 6-5 with a run in the bottom of the fifth, Charleston exploded for six runs in the sixth and a 12-5 advantage. Leeds led off with a walk and Aldrich drilled a two-run shot to right, his 10th of the season. Back-to-back singles by Rodriguez and Harding were followed by a RBI single to right by Holler for a 9-5 score. Pritcher reached on an error by Justin Mackert to load the bases and the runners advanced on a wild pitch by TJ Clarkson, with Harding scoring on the play. A second error by Mackert allowed Gantt to reach base and scored Holler, while a bases-loaded walk issued to redshirt-junior DH Rob Kral (Randolph, N.J.) gave the Cougars a 12-5 lead.
The Citadel chipped into the lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame on RBI base hits by Brad Felder and Orvin to make the score 12-7 after six complete. From that point on, the Cougars’ bullpen faltered, allowing 10 runs over the seventh and eighth innings to allow the Bulldogs to surge ahead for the win. A two-run single by Felder keyed the five-run seventh and after the Cougars scored a pair in the top of the eighth, a two-out bases-clearing double to left center in the bottom of the frame by Orvin provided the winning three-run margin.
Orvin had a career-high five hits and five RBIs to lead the Bulldogs offensively, while eight of the Cougars’ nine starters recorded multi-hit efforts. Rakar and Harding each posted 4-for-5 outings and Leeds scored three times. Charleston left 15 runners on bases on the afternoon, while the Bulldogs stranded six.
Junior reliever Kyle Owings (Gilbert, S.C.) took the loss for the Cougars, allowing five runs on five hits in 1-1/3 innings with three strikeouts. Jeremy Long picked up the win for The Citadel, scattering three hits over two innings and allowing one run.
The two teams return to Riley Park for game three of the series Sunday afternoon. First pitch is set for 1:00 p.m.