BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – College of Charleston’s offense, pitching and defense came together for an outstanding performance as the Cougars shut out Samford, 10-0, to earn a SoCon road sweep, the first of the season for the Cougars.
College of Charleston (16-11, 7-4) swept the defending SoCon Tournament Champion Samford Bulldogs (15-13, 5-7) behind 10 runs on 13 hits, including a season-best three home runs. The CofC pitching staff allowed just four hits in the first shutout of the season.
Freshman starter Nathan Helvey (3-2) went 8.0 innings, scattering three hits and only walking two in the first partial shutout of his career. Ryan West came in the ninth inning to close the door on the Bulldogs.
Sophomore Gunnar Heidt had a career day at the plate, tallying a career-high five RBIs on three hits, including a three-run homer in the first inning. Junior Brandon Murray was also impressive as he hit a solo home right after Heidt’s and finished with three hits and two RBI. Ben Boykin hit his second homer of the year, and Blake Butler went 2-for-3 with an RBI and two walks.
“We had a great win today to cap an outstanding series down here in Samford,” head coach Monte Lee said. “Samford is tough and well-coached, and we were able to tough out two wins last night and then play really well today. Nathan Helvey pitched really well for us today, and we were able to put together some really quality at-bats.”
Samford’s Cole Limbaugh (2-1) suffered the loss for the Bulldogs, lasting just 4.0 innings and giving up six runs on seven hits. Catcher Drew McWhorter tallied the only extra-base hit of the game for the home team, a double in the second inning. As a team, Samford stranded eight runners on base.
College of Charleston put two runners on in the first after a walk from Alex Pastorius and hit-by-pitch from Tyler Jackson. Heidt then launched his second homer of the season over the left-field wall to give CofC a 3-0 lead. Brandon Murray made it back-to-back home runs with a solo shot to right field and pushed the score to 4-0.
The Cougars scored two runs in the fourth inning after Jackson reached on a bases loaded fielder’s choice that scored Butler. Heidt then hit a single over the shortstop to plate Ryan Welke and give CofC a 6-0 lead.
Ben Boykin hit a solo home run on the first pitch of the fifth inning to push the score to 7-0. The Cougars added three more runs in the eighth inning with RBI singles from Heidt and Murray, and a bases-loaded walk from Butler.
College of Charleston will remain on the road for a non-conference game at UNC Wilmington on Tuesday night at 6 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN 910 AM with Jeff McCarragher on the call. The Cougars defeated the Seahawks earlier this year with a walk-off hit-by-pitch.
NOTES: Sunday’s win marked the first shutout and series sweep for CofC in 2013 … in the three-game series, the Cougars scored 32 runs on 44 hits … from the seventh inning of last night’s second game, CofC outscored Samford 21-1 … Saturday’s three home runs snapped a nine-game homer drought for the Cougars.