MT. PLEASANT, S.C. – College of Charleston’s pitching staff and defense came through in a big way as the Cougars defeated No. 12 North Carolina, 3-1, winning the series over the visiting Tar Heels.
The Cougars (2-1) allowed just five hits and turned three big double plays in the series-clinching win over the nationally-ranked Tar Heels (1-2). It marked the highest-ranked opponent that College of Charleston has ever defeated in a weekend series.
The weekend attendance of 2,742 was the most for a season-opening series at Patriots Point.
Sophomore Eric Bauer (1-0) earned the win in his first career start for CofC. The transfer from College of Central Florida went six innings, giving up just one run on five hits. True freshman Hayden McCutcheon (1) came in with a runner on in the ninth, induced a double play and then struck out Zach Daly to win the game, earning the save.
North Carolina’s Zac Gallen (0-1) took the loss for the Tar Heels. The freshman pitcher went 6.2 innings, giving up seven hits and two runs, while striking out three.
For the third straight game, UNC struck first with a run in the fourth inning. The Tar Heels tallied seven runs in the fourth inning over the course of three games.
Keeping with the series trend, College of Charleston rallied back in the bottom of the fifth inning. Brandon Glazer started the inning with a single, but was put out on a sacrifice bunt attempt by Ryan Welke. Welke eventually advanced to third after a single from Blake Butler and came home on a single from Nick Pappas, his first career hit and RBI. Gunnar Heidt then gave the Cougars the lead with an RBI single down the left-field line that scored Butler.
North Carolina had an opportunity to score in the sixth frame, but the Cougars turned a line drive with the bases loaded into a 9-3 double play to end the inning. The Tar Heels had another opportunity in the eighth inning with three walks and the bases loaded with just one out. But Derrick Smith induced Jordan Parks to ground into another bases-loaded double play, 6-4-3.
After a leadoff walk in the ninth inning, Joe Dudek grounded into a double play with Pappas snagging a ball on the line, throwing to second then receiving the throw back to record the second out. McCutcheon then struck out Daly to end the game and give CofC the 3-1 win.
College of Charleston will face Charleston Southern on Wednesday afternoon at 4 p.m. The game was originally schedule for Tuesday, but moved to Wednesday to give CofC a day off between games.
“It’s a great win for this program. Our starting pitcher was awesome and we had a strong performance from a true freshman at the end. Defensively, we were very good today, turning three big double plays in big situations.”
“Obviously, we hope this is a confidence booster. We didn’t completely know what to expect out of our young pitching staff. We felt like positionally we were going to be OK, but we didn’t know what to expect on the mound. I’m really proud of how they all came out and competed. We still have a lot of things to work on. For instance, we walked way too many players today, but our defense was able to get us out of a few jams.”
-12th-ranked North Carolina is the highest-ranked team that College of Charleston has defeated in a weekend series. The Cougars defeated No. 30 South Alabama and No. 30 ECU in weekend series in 2012 and 2005, respectively.
-College of Charleston fell behind in both wins over the weekend, using a two-run fifth inning on Monday and five-run sixth inning on Saturday to come back and win the games.
-CofC turned three double plays in the game, with two coming on bases-loaded, one-out situations.
-Sophomore Eric Bauer and freshman Hayden McCutcheon each made career debuts on Monday, tallying a win and save in their career stats. Freshman Bailey Ober picked up Saturday’s win in his first career appearance.
-Sophomore Blake Butler was CofC’s top position player on the weekend. The second-baseman hit .385 with three runs and an RBI triple. He also made 13 assists, eight putouts and turned two double plays.