MT. PLEASANT, S.C. - College of Charleston opened the weekend series against crosstown rival The Citadel with an 8-4 victory on Friday evening at Patriots Point.
After The Citadel scored runs in the top of the second and third innings, the Cougars exploded for four runs in the bottom of the third and never trailed for the rest of the game.
The win extended the Cougars' winning streak to three games, as College of Charleston (27-12, 15-7) has won six of the last seven contests. The Citadel snapped its four-game winning streak and has now lost two in a row to the Cougars at Patriots Point, dating back to last season.
Josh Renfro (6-3) picked up the win after he settled down after the third inning. Renfro pitched 6.0 innings, allowing just four hits, two runs, one earned and striking out four while walking one. Nick Osterman and Dre Watts each allowed one run in relief appearances.
The Cougar offense was sparked by leadoff-hitting senior Marty Gantt. The center-fielder went 3-for-5 with two doubles and three runners batted in to give the Cougars their 11th game of double digit hits.
For the Bulldogs, Hughston Armstrong notched two hits, including a triple, while scoring a run, and Justin Mackert went yard for a solo home run. Starter Austin Pritcher (4-3) was tagged with the loss after giving up 11 hits and six earned runs in just 4.2 innings of work.
The Citadel scored first in the second inning after a Cougar error allowed Drew DeKerlegand to reach first with one out. After a double by Calvin Orth, DeKerlegand came home to score on an RBI groundout from Johnathan Stokes.
The Bulldogs added to the lead in the next inning when Justin Mackert hit a two-out solo home run over the left field fence to put The Citadel up, 2-0.
College of Charleston quickly recovered in the bottom of the third inning, scoring four runs on five hits and taking advantage of a Citadel error. Holton, Gantt, Bradley Goodson and Brandon Murray all notched RBIs in the inning that saw all nine Cougars come to the plate.
The Cougars scored two more runs in the fourth inning as Holton hit a double and advanced Heidt to third and Gantt was able to drive both runners in with a double, extending the CofC lead to 6-2.
Renfro was forced to work out of a major jam in the fifth inning as The Citadel loaded the bases with just one out and the heart of the lineup coming up. However, the senior southpaw struck out Mackert on a full count and had Joe Jackson rung up on a checked swing to get out of the inning.
The Cougars added more runs in the fifth and sixth innings off of two-out RBI hits from Heidt and Harding, pushing the margin to 8-2.
The Citadel struck for runs in the eighth and ninth innings with leadoff triples from Jackson and Armstrong, but the Bulldogs were unable to build big innings and the CofC bullpen held off the rally to preserve the 8-4 win.
Both teams will be back in action tomorrow for a 3 p.m. contest at Patriots Point. Before the game, former players Chris Campbell and Nick Chigges will be inducted into the College of Charleston Baseball Wall of Fame.