GAINESVILLE, Fla. - College of Charleston starting pitcher Matt Pegler pitched his first career complete game and did not allow a hit until the sixth inning as the Cougars defeated Bethune-Cookman, 8-2, in an NCAA Gainesville Regional elimination game.
Pegler (10-2) won his 10th game of the season as he allowed two hits and two runs while striking out a career-best nine Wildcats in his first career complete game. Pegler did not allow a walk in the contest as he went into the sixth inning before allowing a hit.
The Cougars have now won eight straight games with Pegler on the mound, as the junior from Greenville, S.C., has posted a 7-0 record in those games. On the season, CofC is 7-0 when Pegler pitches on the day after a loss.
The Cougars (38-21) staved off elimination by holding Bethune-Cookman (34-27) to eight hitless innings with the only blemish coming on a sixth-inning infield single by Carlos Delgado and a two-run home run by Josh Johnson in the next at-bat. The Wildcats had been hitless for 14.2 innings after Florida's Jonathon Crawford pitched a no-hitter in the first game of the Gainesville Regional.
Offensively, the Cougars were led by Daniel Aldrich who finished with a home run and double, driving in two and scoring two runs. Aldrich's solo homer in the fourth inning was his 11th of the season as he cleared the scoreboard in right field.
Marty Gantt extended his hitting streak to 10 games, his third streak of that length this season, as he finished with a double and two runs while also stealing his team-leading 27th and 28th bases of the season.
"Obviously, it was a really good game for us," head coach Monte Lee said. "It was tough being an elimination game and we needed to play our best game. It all started with Matt Pegler who gave us an outstanding start and threw a complete game. He was the reason that we won today. We also swung the bats well and played really good defensively."
Gantt opened the game with a double and then stole third base, eventually coming home on a double-play grounder from Harding.
The Cougars extended the lead in the fourth inning when Aldrich launched a ball over the right field scoreboard for a solo home run that made it 2-0. Glazer extended the inning with a walk and Cody Martin eventually drove him in with an RBI single.
College of Charleston blew the game open in the fifth inning, led by a leadoff double from Reed. CofC followed it up with consecutive singles from Gantt, Murray, Harding, Aldrich and Glazer, scoring five runs in the inning and pushing the CofC lead to 8-0.
Bethune-Cookman broke up the no-hit bid in the top of the sixth inning when Delgado hit a ball up the middle and bounced off second base. Johnson followed it up with a two-run homer to left field to pull the margin to 8-2.
Pegler continued to be dominant through the final three innings as he finished with just 92 pitches and a career-best nine strikeouts. His performance was even more important in the tournament format as it kept the CofC bullpen rested for a run out of the loser's bracket.
College of Charleston will face the loser of the Florida/Georgia Tech game at noon tomorrow on ESPN2.