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Cougar Baseball Returns Home To Face Winthrop
Release: 04/09/2012
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CHARLESTON, S.C. - College of Charleston (22-11) will return home this week for a mid-week baseball game against Winthrop (11-22) on Tuesday night at 6 p.m. at Patriots Point. The game will be available live on the Charleston Sports Network on

The Cougars are coming off the toughest week of the season so far, after playing #10 South Carolina on Wednesday and traveling to #30 Appalachian State for a weekend series, losing three of four games. CofC struggled to hit the ball until Sunday's outburst where the Cougars hit three home runs and plated eight for an 8-3 victory.

Christian Powell picked up the lone win of the weekend as he moved into a tie for first place in the SoCon with a 6-1 record while he maintains his hold on the league's best ERA (1.89).

Brandon Murray tallied three hits on Sunday, including his team-best ninth home run, while Gunnar Heidt hit the first home run of his CofC career.

RHP #21 Preston Johnson, Winthrop, 1-4, 7.31 ERA, 21 BB, 25 K
RHP #29 Ryan West, CofC, 2-3, 3.41 ERA, 9 BB, 29 K

After defeating Winthrop earlier this year in Rock Hill by a score of 6-3, the Cougars are now 8-4 against the Eagles all-time.

Winthrop has struggled this season as they stand at just 11-22 and 4-5 in Big South play. No player is hitting over .300 as Winthrop sports a team batting average of .221.

The Eagles have been led by Patrick Gamblin with his average of .270 and four home runs with 20 RBI. Matt Lobacz has driven in 25 runners with seven doubles and an average of .244.

Tuesday's starter Preston Johnson took the loss against College of Charleston in the previous meeting and currently has an ERA of 7.31 with a record of 1-4. Opponents are hitting .310 against him as he's walked 21 against 25 strikeouts.

The Cougars currently lead the SoCon in pitching with a team ERA of 2.75 and an opposing batting average of just .223. The staff ERA ranks 10th nationally, while the Cougars are ninth in the NCAA in hits allowed per nine innings (7.42).

Christian Powell leads the league with an ERA of 1.89, while his six wins rank seventh in the country. Matt Pegler is third in the Southern Conference with an ERA of 2.70. Ryan West is third in the conference with an opposing batting average of .215. David Peterson is tied for first place in the SoCon for saves with eight. That mark ranks eighth nationally.

Marty Gantt leads the conference and is ninth in the country in runs scored with 37 and is eighth in the SoCon in batting average (.372) and second in doubles (13). Brandon Murray is fourth in the league in home runs (9).

The Cougars are sixth in the nation in home runs (35) and 12th in homers per game (1.06).

Marty Gantt has led the team all season in batting average after opening with a strong series at South Alabama. Gantt recently snapped a team-best 23-game reached base streak and a 10-game hitting streak. He has failed to get a hit in just six games this year.

Gantt has shown that he can hit for power and contact as he leads the team in batting average (.372), slugging percentage (.643), on-base percentage (.457), RBI (27), runs (37), stolen bases (14) and is second in home runs (6).

College of Charleston's Saturday starter Christian Powell has proved to nearly unhittable this season. Powell sports a league-best 1.51 ERA. Powell has boasted three starting performances where he has not allowed an earned run and has one partial shutout this season. His six wins are tied for first in the SoCon and rank seventh in the NCAA.

College of Charleston sophomore Brandon Murray has been a power generator at the plate, blasting a team-best nine home runs and boasting a slugging percentage of .616. Murray is fourth in the league in home runs and ninth in slugging percentage.

Murray was named the SoCon Player of the Week on March 26. He hit a game-tying solo home run in the bottom of the ninth inning that led to the Cougars extra-inning win over CSU (3/27).

After splitting time in left field to begin the season, Murray has cemented a place in the heart of the lineup with his power and patience (team-best 19 walks) at the plate.

College of Charleston senior David Peterson has embraced his new role of closer in 2012 and has provided several stellar outings recently to save games for the Cougars, including a two-inning performance at Appalachian State on Sunday.

Peterson is currently tied for first place in the conference in saves with eight, putting him eighth in the NCAA. That mark also ranks sixth for most in a season in CofC history.

While the College of Charleston has based its 2012 reputation off of the strength of its pitching staff, the Cougars are still hitting for power in a big way. CofC leads the Southern Conference in team home runs with 35, a mark that currently ranks sixth in the country.

College of Charleston has seen power from a number of different bats as Brandon Murray (9), Marty Gantt (6) and Bradley Goodson (5) all have five or more long balls.

CofC is 18-5 this season when the squad hits a home run in a game, and 7-1 when the Cougars hit two or more long balls.

The College of Charleston baseball team has been helping to raise money for the St. Baldrick's Foundation which funds childhood cancer research.

As part of St. Baldrick's "Shaving Heads and Saving Lives" nationwide initiative, College of Charleston baseball players will be shaving their heads following the April 14 home game against Samford. The Cougars have raised over $2,500 dollars, nearing the team's goal of $3000.

"We are very excited to be participating in St. Baldrick's this year," head coach Monte Lee said. "We encourage our student-athletes to find ways to give back to the community, and we believe in the purpose of this organization."

The St. Baldrick's Foundation is a volunteer-driven charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives.

CofC senior lefty Josh Renfro has proven to be the master of the strikeout. Renfro ranks third in the conference in K's with 50 after two straight weeks with career-high 11-strikeout outings. Each time the Cougars get 12 strikeouts in a home game, the fans are treated to Kickin Chicken bucks. Renfro has helped Cougar fans win the promotion twice this season, and came one strikeout short on a third occasion.

Senior Rob Harding has come through when it's counted this year. A team-best 13 of his 26 RBIs have come in 2-out situations. Harding leads the team with an average of .500 with runners in scoring position, and has successfully advanced runners over 53 percent of the time.

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