MT. PLEASANT, S.C. – The College of Charleston (5-1) pitching staff delivered a gem on Saturday, shutting out Rhode Island (1-5), 1-0, to clinch the weekend series over the Rams.
The Cougars won their fourth consecutive game with the first shutout of the young 2014 season. College of Charleston has not allowed more than three runs in any of the last four wins.
Taylor Clarke (1-1) picked up the win in his second start of the season, going five innings and scattering five hits while striking out a career-high seven batters and only walking one. Derrick Smith did not allow a hit in two relief innings, and Hayden McCutcheon (2) finished the game for his second save of the season. McCutcheon walked one and struck out one in the eighth and ninth innings.
CofC combined for nine strikeouts and just three walks allowed. Both teams tallied just five hits.
Rhode Island’s Steve Moyers (0-2) was impressive on the mound as well, holding the Cougar offense to just four hits and one run in a six-inning quality start. However, his one run surrendered was all CofC need to pull out the victory.
College of Charleston got on the scoreboard in the third inning, keyed by a walk from Blake Butler and single from Nick Pappas on a hit and run that advanced Butler to third. Gunnar Heidt tallied the game’s lone RBI on a grounder to the third baseman who fumbled the ball on the exchange out of his glove, scoring Butler.
Rhode Island had an opportunity in the ninth inning after a one-out walk to Pat Quinn put the go-ahead run at the plate. However, McCutcheon got TJ Lynch to fly out to Morgan Phillips and then the freshman struck out Derek Gardella to win the game.
The Cougars turned two more double plays from Heidt and Butler to erase threats late in the game. CofC’s defense did not make an error in a solid effort to back up the pitching staff.
College of Charleston will go for its first sweep of 2014 on Sunday afternoon at Patriots Point, giving LHP Eric Bauer the nod on the start.
College of Charleston’s eight team double plays currently ranks second among all CAA teams. This year, the Cougars have committed just five errors on a 231 chances for a fielding percentage of .978.
Freshman Bradley Jones got the start at designated hitter and tallied his first career hit, a single in the second inning.
Ryan Welke, Blake Butler and Ben Boykin have all reached base in every game they’ve played this season. Welke and Butler each drew walks on Saturday, while Boykin had the day off.