ELON, N.C. - College of Charleston scored three runs in the first and never looked back en route to a 7-4 win over Elon to take the rubber game of the series.
The top four players in the CofC lineup all had two hits and the Cougar pitching staff only gave up two hits through the first seven innings. Charleston (10-6, 2-1) has now won the past two weekend series, while Elon (7-7, 2-4) loses its first two home SoCon weekends.
CofC starter Nathan Helvey lasted just 2.2 innings, walking five batters and allowing one run on two hits. Reliever Drew Freie (3-2) picked up his third win and fifth decision, pitching 3.0 shutout innings and not allowing a Phoenix hit.
Ryan West gave up two runs in the eighth and Michael Hanzlik flirted with drama in the ninth, allowing two hits and a run before inducing a game-ending double play.
David Whitehead (1-3) picked up the loss after an erratic 3.2-inning start, allowing five runs on four hits and walking six batters.
Junior slugger Brandon Murray hit his second homer of the season, a solo shot to right center, and finished with a 2-for-4 day. Shortstop Gunnar Heidt launched two doubles, the second one scoring Blake Butler for an insurance run in the eighth inning. Butler finished with two runs and two hits.
Junior Ben Boykin continued his stellar weekend with a triple and an RBI single, both coming with two outs in the inning.
Quinn Bower led Elon with two RBI on a single and a double. Antonio Alvarez scored two runs, walked twice and stole a base.
The Cougars scored three runs in the opening inning with a leadoff single from Butler and a double from Heidt. Boykin hit an RBI groundout and Tyler Jackson and Alex Pastorius induced bases-loaded walks to drive in two more runs.
Murray hit his solo home run in the third inning and Jimmy Holton tallied his first RBI of the year, a two-out single that scored Jackson, to give CofC a 5-0 lead.
Elon responded with a two-out RBI double from Ryan Kinsella in the bottom of the third inning, but that would be the last run scored until the eighth as both pitching staffs settled in.
A two-out single from Butler and a double from Heidt scored a run for the Cougars in the top of the eighth inning. Boykin found a hole on the left side with a hit and run on, and Heidt came around to score his second run of the game and push the CofC lead to 7-1.
Elon responded with two runs in the bottom of the inning, and threatened more in the ninth after an RBI from Chris King. With runners on first and second and just one out, Danny Lynch rolled a grounder to Butler who turned started the double play to end the game.
College of Charleston will not play a mid-week game this week, and will next face SoCon contender Western Carolina for a home series starting on Friday.