MT. PLEASANT, S.C. – College of Charleston earned a sweep of Rhode Island by defeating the visiting Rams, 7-4, on Sunday afternoon at Patriots Point.
The win ran College of Charleston’s (6-1) winning streak to five games, while Rhode Island (1-6) lost its fifth game in a row. The series sweep was the first for CofC in the 2014 season as the Cougars have now won two straight series finales.
Sophomore Eric Bauer (2-0) posted his second quality start of the season, scattering six hits over six innings and allowing just two earned runs. He struck out two and walked one in his second win of the year. Michael Hanzlik (2) came in the game with two on and one out in the ninth, but struck out Dan Hetzel and induced a game-ending groundout to earn his second save of the year.
Rhode Island’s Lou Distasio (1-1) lasted just four innings, but gave up three runs in the fourth to surrender the lead and suffer the loss.
College of Charleston tallied 13 hits, including three triples and a home run, while holding Rhode Island to just six singles and a double.
Senior Ben Boykin got his first career start at catcher and also had a big day at the plate, driving in two runs on a single and a triple. Sophomore Alex Pastorius tied a career high with three hits, including a triple, while Brandon Murray had an RBI triple and scored two runs. Sophomore Blake Butler continued his hot start with two hits, and Carl Wise added two RBIs. Morgan Phillips launched his first home run of the season in the eighth inning.
David Hopkins led URI with two RBIs, while Derek Gardella was the only Ram to tally multiple hits.
Rhode Island grabbed its first lead of the series in the fourth inning with a two-out rally sparked by a Gardella single. After a double from Chris Hess, Hopkins singled through the left side to score two runs.
College of Charleston took no time to respond, tallying five hits and three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, spurred on by triples from Murray and Boykin. CofC added to the lead in the next inning by loading the bases and scoring runs on a fielder’s choice from Wise and a base hit from Boykin. Heidt added a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning that put CofC ahead 6-2.
Rhode Island tried to rally with the bases loaded and nobody out in the seventh, but CofC limited the damage to just two runs on grounders in the infield. Phillips’ solo shot pushed the lead back to 7-4 in the eighth inning, and Hanzlik was able to shut the door on the two Ram baserunners in the ninth inning.
College of Charleston continues its month-long home stand with an afternoon game against regional power Charlotte on Tuesday at 4 p.m.
“I thought we stayed focused with the sweep on the line today. We fell behind early but we responded with a three-run inning immediately after and then added two more in the next inning. Offensively, we really got it going in the second half of the game, and I thought we threw it well too. We gave them a couple of runs on some tough defensive plays.”
“You have to win in a lot of different ways, and the constant has to be pitching and defense. I’m proud of the way we’ve done that so far this season. I really do think that our guys have thrown the ball fairly well so far. We have confidence in our position players that we can score in spurts, manufacture runs, have big innings with power and hit some home runs.”
-Blake Butler and Ben Boykin extended their reached base streaks to seven and six games respectively. Dating back to last season, Boykin has now reached base in 11 straight games, while Butler has safely reached base in eight straight games.
-College of Charleston tallied three triples in the game, just one away from tying the school record back in 2002 against Howard.
-With Morgan Phillips home run in the eighth inning, the Cougars have now hit five home runs in the first seven games of the season, good for second in the CAA.
-With two wins over nationally-ranked UNC, a win over a 6-1 Charleston Southern team and a sweep of Rhode Island, the Cougars will be looking to the national polls on Monday afternoon to see some votes. Last week, CofC received votes in the NCBWA poll.