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Courtesy: Lee Jakobsen
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Cougars Host Samford In Big SoCon Weekend Series
Release: 04/12/2012
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CHARLESTON, S.C. - College of Charleston (23-11, 12-6) enters a very important weekend series against SoCon foe Samford (20-13, 9-6) after two impressive wins on Tuesday over Winthrop and on Sunday against Appalachian State. Game times are slated for 6 p.m. on Friday, 3 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday.

The Cougars scored a 16-3 win on Tuesday and an 8-3 victory on Sunday, combining for 31 hits over the two games. Gunnar Heidt hit his first two home runs of his career and Daniel Aldrich doubled twice on Sunday and tripled on Tuesday to begin breaking out of his offensive slump. Bradley Goodson went 4-for-4 on Tuesday with a three-run home run that broke the game open.

The two wins were crucial for a Cougar team that had dropped four games in a row, and five of the last six contests. CofC will look to continue the momentum against a Samford team that is currently fourth in the Southern Conference.

After Saturday's game, many members of the baseball team will be shaving their heads as part of St. Baldrick's Shaving Heads and Saving Lives initiative to raise money for childhood cancer research.

RHP #35 Charles Basford, Samford, 5-0, 3.17 ERA, 12 BB, 36 K
LHP #19 Josh Renfro, CofC, 4-3, 3.75 ERA, 7 BB, 50 K

RHP #34 Josh Martin, Samford, 6-1, 3.26 ERA, 11 BB, 45 K
RHP #20 Christian Powell, CofC, 6-1, 1.89 ERA, 13 BB, 37 K

RHP #13 Kyle Putkonen, Samford, 2-4, 4.60 ERA, 15 BB, 44 K
RHP #22 Matt Pegler, CofC, 5-2, 2.70 ERA, 9 BB, 32 K

All of this weekend's series will be aired live on ESPN 910 AM as well as broadcast through the Charleston Sports Network on Jeff McCarragher will be doing play-by-play while Dennis Trapani will add color commentary.

College of Charleston is 5-7 against Samford all time as the Bulldogs took two of three in last year's series in Birmingham at the end of the season.

Samford comes into the weekend after dropping a road game at Auburn, 7-5, on Tuesday night. The Bulldogs have won SoCon series over The Citadel (2-1), Wofford (3-0), Furman (2-1) and UNCG (2-1), while getting swept by Elon.

Preseason All-SoCon pick Phillip Ervin has lived up to the billing with the team's second-best batting average (.360) along with six home runs and 31 RBI. Saxon Butler leads the team with a .383 batting average and a .475 on-base percentage. Brandon Miller has knocked 12 home runs and 39 RBIs.

Samford ranks third in the league in hitting (.305) and second in team ERA (3.64).

The Cougars currently lead the SoCon in pitching with a team ERA of 2.70 and an opposing batting average of just .222. The staff ERA ranks 10th nationally, while the Cougars are ninth in the NCAA in hits allowed per nine innings (7.42).

Christian Powell leads the league with an ERA of 1.89, while his six wins rank seventh in the country. Matt Pegler is third in the Southern Conference with an ERA of 2.70. Ryan West is third in the conference with an opposing batting average of .214. David Peterson is tied for first place in the SoCon for saves with eight. That mark ranks eighth nationally.

Marty Gantt leads the conference and is ninth in the country in runs scored with 39 and is fourth in the SoCon in batting average (.383) and first in doubles (14). Brandon Murray is fourth in the league in home runs (9).

The Cougars are sixth in the nation in home runs (37) and 12th in homers per game (1.06).

College of Charleston has the remarkable distinction of being the only team in the nation to rank in the top 10 in both ERA (2.70, 10th) and home runs (37, 6th).

Marty Gantt has led the team all season in batting average after opening with a strong series at South Alabama. Gantt recently snapped a team-best 23-game reached base streak and a 10-game hitting streak. He has failed to get a hit in just six games this year.

Gantt has shown that he can hit for power and contact as he leads the team in batting average (.383), slugging percentage (.654), on-base percentage (.471), RBI (27), runs (39), stolen bases (16) and is second in home runs (6).

College of Charleston's Saturday starter Christian Powell has proved to nearly unhittable this season. Powell sports a league-best 1.51 ERA. Powell has boasted three starting performances where he has not allowed an earned run and has one partial shutout this season. His six wins are tied for first in the SoCon and rank seventh in the NCAA.

College of Charleston sophomore Brandon Murray has been a power generator at the plate, blasting a team-best nine home runs and boasting a slugging percentage of .618. Murray is fourth in the league in home runs and eighth in slugging percentage.

Murray was named the SoCon Player of the Week on March 26. He hit a game-tying solo home run in the bottom of the ninth inning that led to the Cougars extra-inning win over CSU (3/27).

After splitting time in left field to begin the season, Murray has cemented a place in the heart of the lineup with his power and patience (team-best 19 walks) at the plate.

College of Charleston senior David Peterson has embraced his new role of closer in 2012 and has provided several stellar outings recently to save games for the Cougars, including a two-inning performance at Appalachian State on Sunday.

Peterson is currently tied for first place in the conference in saves with eight, putting him eighth in the NCAA. That mark also ranks sixth for most in a season in CofC history.

While the College of Charleston has based its 2012 reputation off of the strength of its pitching staff, the Cougars are still hitting for power in a big way. CofC leads the Southern Conference in team home runs with 37, a mark that currently ranks sixth in the country.

College of Charleston has seen power from a number of different bats as Brandon Murray (9), Marty Gantt (6) and Bradley Goodson (6) all have five or more long balls.

CofC is 19-5 this season when the squad hits a home run in a game, and 8-1 when the Cougars hit two or more long balls.

The College of Charleston baseball team has been helping to raise money for the St. Baldrick's Foundation which funds childhood cancer research.

As part of St. Baldrick's "Shaving Heads and Saving Lives" nationwide initiative, College of Charleston baseball players will be shaving their heads following the April 14 home game against Samford. The Cougars have raised over $2,500 dollars, nearing the team's goal of $3000.

"We are very excited to be participating in St. Baldrick's this year," head coach Monte Lee said. "We encourage our student-athletes to find ways to give back to the community, and we believe in the purpose of this organization."

The St. Baldrick's Foundation is a volunteer-driven charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives.

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