SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Redshirt-junior 3B Matt Leeds (Boca Raton, Fla.) had a career-high six hits and redshirt-freshman RF Daniel Aldrich (Mt. Pleasant, S.C.) blasted two home runs and a career-high eight RBIs, including a grand slam in the ninth, as the College of Charleston routed Wofford College 24-6 Saturday afternoon in Southern Conference action at Russell C. King Field. Leeds was a perfect 6-for-6 at the plate and scored five times as the Cougars improved to 29-15 overall and 13-7 in the SoCon.
Leeds’ six-hit performance ties the school’s single-game record set by Oliver Marmol against Georgia Southern on April 13, 2007, while Aldrich’s eight RBIs knots the program single-game mark set by Michael Harrington on March 8, 2008 against Texas-San Antonio.
Charleston scored in the first inning for the 24th time this season, plating a single run in the opening frame. With two outs, Leeds singled to right and Aldrich laced a single up the middle that Wofford CF James Foster bobbled, allowing Leeds to score the unearned run for a 1-0 lead.
The Cougars extended the lead to 4-0 with three runs in the third. Senior C Robert Pritcher (Charleston, S.C.) led off the inning with a double to right and advanced to third on a fly out to center by junior 1B Marty Gantt (N. Augusta, S.C.). Redshirt-junior DH Rob Kral (Randolph, N.J.) roped a RBI single up the middle to score Pritcher and after a single to right by Leeds, redshirt-junior LF Jose Rodriguez (Hialeah, Fla.) knocked a two-run double to left center, bringing home Kral and Leeds.
Wofford (19-24, 6-14) cut the Cougars’ lead to two, scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the third. Back-to-back singles by Alex Lee and Clark Wise put runners on base and Foster loaded the bases when he was hit by a 2-1 pitch from Charleston starter David Peterson (Walnut Creek, Calif.). Mac Doyle followed up with a two-run single down the left-field line that caromed off the bag at third and trailed off into the corner in left.
Charleston sent 13 batters to the plate in the fifth, scoring eight runs to take a double-digit lead at 12-2. Kral led off with a single to right and Leeds moved him over to third with a double to left. Aldrich cleared the bases with a three-run homer to right, his 17th of the season and gave the Cougars a 7-2 lead. Back-to-back singles by Rodriguez and senior CF Cole Rakar (Mt. Pleasant, S.C.) put runners at first and second with no outs before junior 2B Rob Harding (Columbia, S.C.) laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners ahead a base. After a second out was recorded, Pritcher walked and Gantt ripped a two-run single to left for a 9-2 advantage. Kral cam e to the plate for the second time in the frame and hit a RBI single to center, while Leeds lined a two-run double to right center to close the inning as the Cougars posted a 10-run lead.
Wofford got a run back in the bottom half of the inning as Doyle scored on a fielder’s choice to short by Josh McKinney, but the Cougars’ offense was too powerful on the afternoon, putting up 12 more runs over the final three innings to put the game out of reach.
In the seventh, Charleston batted around for the second time in the game, plating four runs for a 16-3 lead. Pritcher and Gantt walked to lead off the frame and Leeds singled to shallow right with one out to load the bases. A sacrifice fly by Aldrich brought home Pritcher and a single by Rodriguez reloaded the bases for Rakar. Four straight balls later, Rakar forced in Gantt from third with a base on balls and Harding plated a pair of runs with a two-run single to the gap in left center. The Cougars extended their lead to 18-3 in the eighth on a two-run round-tripper by Leeds, his 15th of the season and boosting his team-high RBI total to 65 on the season.
Charleston put the icing on the cake in the ninth, scoring six more runs, highlighted by a grand slam by Aldrich, his second homer of the game and giving him a career-high eight RBI on the afternoon. Freshman PH Blake Ross (Evans, Ga.) led off the frame with a double, but was gunned down trying to stretch the base hit into a triple. Walks by pinch-hitters Jesse Mesa (Miramar, Fla.) and Jimmy Holton (West Palm Beach, Fla.) and a single by senior SS Jamie Holler (Rock Hill, S.C.) loaded the bases for Gantt, who drew his third free pass of the game to force in a run. After the second out of the inning was recorded, freshman PH Brandon Glazer (Hagerstown, Md.) drew a four-pitch walk to bring in another forced run, leading to Aldrich’s first multi-homer game of the season.
Wofford pushed across three runs in the bottom of the ninth on a RBI single by Eric Brenk and a two-run double by Josh Hyman to close the scoring.
Peterson tossed six innings to improve to 5-4 on the season, scattering seven hits and allowing three runs with one strikeout and one walk. Sophomore RHP Dre Watts (Laurens, S.C.) tossed the final three innings of relief for his first save of the season. Watts gave up three runs on four hits with three strikeouts. Kral and Rodriguez recorded three hits apiece for the Cougars, who out-hit Wofford 21-11.
Doyle went 4-for-5 at the plate for Wofford with two RBIs and scoring twice. Brandon Yarusi took the loss for the Terriers, allowing nine runs on 11 hits in four innings. Wofford’s bullpen gave up a combined 15 runs on 10 hits in five innings with 10 walks.
The series concludes tomorrow afternoon with a 1:00 p.m. first pitch and can be heard live on SportsRadio 1450-AM with Jeff McCarragher handling the play-by-play.