SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Redshirt-junior LF Jose Rodriguez (Hialeah, Fla.) knocked a three-run home run in the seventh and three other Cougars added round-trippers as the College of Charleston powered past host USC Upstate for a 10-6 victory Wednesday evening at Harley Park. The Cougars improve to 24-15, while Upstate falls to 13-28.
Charleston plated a pair of runs in the top of the second to take an early lead. Redshirt-junior 3B Matt Leeds (Boca Raton, Fla.) opened the frame with a double down the right-field line and advanced to third on a groundout to second by Rodriguez. Redshirt-freshman RF Daniel Aldrich (Mt. Pleasant, S.C.) deposited a 2-0 pitch over the batter’s eye in straightaway center field for his 13th homer of the season and a 2-0 Cougars lead.
Upstate rallied in the bottom of the inning, scoring three runs to take a one-run advantage. Tyler Cook singled up the middle and Branden Millhouse was hit by a pitch to set up a two-run triple down the right-field line by Blake Green. Gaither Bumgardner followed with a RBI single through the left side to score Green with the go-ahead run.
The Cougars responded with three runs in the third for a 5-3 lead. Junior 1B Marty Gantt (N. Augusta, S.C.) led off with a single to right and stole second. Senior CF Cole Rakar (Mt. Pleasant, S.C.) lined a RBI single up the middle to knot the score at 3-3 and Leeds blasted the first pitch he saw off the batter’s eye in center for a two-run round-tripper, his 12th of the season.
The Spartans cu t the Cougars’ lead to 5-4 in the fourth on a RBI groundout to short by Bumgardner, which plated Anthony Vacca. Charleston got the run back in the sixth on a RBI double down the left-field line by senior SS Jamie Holler (Rock Hill, S.C.) and extended the lead to 9-4 with three runs in the seventh. Redshirt-junior C Rob Kral (Randolph, N.J.) singled to right and Leeds singled to left, setting the stage for a three-run homer to left center by Rodriguez and a 9-4 lead.
Upstate put a pair of runs on the board in the seventh, making the score 9-6 on a two-run double by Austin Lilput, but Gantt gave the Cougars some breathing room in the top of the eighth, hitting a solo shot to center for a 10-6 Charleston lead.
Senior RHP Robert Jeroszko (Greenville, S.C.) picked up his fourth win of the season, allowing six runs on 12 hits with five strikeouts in 6-2/3 innings. Sophomore RHP Matt Pegler (Greenville, S.C.) earned his first save of the season, holding Upstate to one hit over 2-1/3 innings and recording two strikeouts. Leeds had three hits on the night for the Cougars, while Gantt, Rakar and Aldrich all collected two hits apiece.
Green led the Spartans with three hits, as Upstate and Charleston each pounded out 13 hits in the game. Andrew Wyant took the loss for Upstate, allowing five runs on five hits in three innings.
Charleston returns to Southern Conference action this weekend as it hosts Furman at Patriots Point for a three-game series. Friday’s first pitch is set for 6:00 p.m.