Aldrich’s Double Caps Baseball’s Five-Run Rally in Ninth
MT. PLEASANT, S.C. – Redshirt-freshman RF Daniel Aldrich (Mt. Pleasant, S.C.) knocked a two-out, two-run double to right field capping a five-run ninth inning as the College of Charleston rallied for a 13-12 victory over visiting Furman University Sunday afternoon at Patriots Point. With the weekend sweep, the Cougars improve to 27-15 overall, 11-7 in the Southern Conference. Furman falls to 19-23, 9-11.
Down 12-8 heading to the bottom of the ninth, Charleston worked Furman reliever Dylan Cole for four walks and two hits in the ninth, scoring five times for the walk-off victory. Senior CF Cole Rakar (Mt. Pleasant, S.C.) and Junior 2B Rob Harding (Columbia, S.C.) each drew walks and pinch-hitter Ryan Daniels (Victoria, Texas) also drew a base on balls to load the bases with no outs. Senior SS Jamie Holler (Rock Hill, S.C.) forced in a run with the fourth straight walk of the inning, cutting the deficit to 12-9. Junior 1B Marty Gantt (N. Augusta, S.C.) lined a RBI single into left, plating Harding for a 12-10 score and leaving the bases loaded. Redshirt-junior DH Rob Kral (Randolph, N.J.) struck out and redshirt-junior 3B Matt Leeds (Boca Raton, Fla.) drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to cut the Furman lead to 12-11. With runners at first and second, Aldrich roped a 3-2 pitch down the right-field line for the game-winning hit and setting off a wild celebration for the Cougars.
Charleston plated a pair of runs in the second to take a 2-0 lead. Aldrich drew a full-count walk to open the frame and redshirt-junior LF Jose Rodriguez (Hialeah, Fla.) singled to right. Rakar reached on a fielder’s choice with Aldrich forced out at third. Harding lined a RBI double the left-field line to score Rodriguez and a sacrifice fly to right by Holler brought home Rakar for a 2-0 lead.
The two teams traded two runs apiece in the third as Furman knotted the score at 2-2 and the Cougars retook a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the frame. Furman scored on a RBI groundout by Will Owens and a RBI single by Aaron Thompkins. The Cougars responded with a two-run single to right center by Harding that plated Aldrich and Leeds.
Furman tied the game at 4-4 with two more runs in the fourth on a two-run homer to left center by Paul Nitto and broke the game open with four runs in the fifth for an 8-4 lead. Charleston cut into the lead with a single run in the fifth on a solo home run by Aldrich, his 15th of the season, for an 8-5 Furman lead. The Paladins extended the lead to 10-5 in the sixth with a pair of runs on a RBI by Reese Wade and throwing error by sophomore reliever Dre Watts (Laurens, S.C.) on a pickoff attempt.
Charleston cut the deficit to 10-8 with three runs in the eighth. Senior PH Kolby Epley (Yadkinville, N.C.) led off the frame with a solo shot to left and after Holler walked, Gantt drilled an 0-1 pitch over the wall in left center for a two-run homer. Furman put more pressure on the in the ninth, scoring twice to take the 12-8 lead before the ninth inning outburst by the Cougars’ offense.
Senior RHP Casey Lucchese (Lexington, Ky.) picked up his second straight win of the weekend to improve to 3-0 on the season. Lucchese faced one batted in the top of the ninth, recording a ground out to end the frame. Cole took the loss for Furman, allowing six runs on three hits and five walks in 1-2/3 innings.
Aldrich finished with three hits and three RBI for the Cougars, as did Gantt. Harding added a pair of hits and three RBI on the afternoon.