Six-Run Ninth Caps Wild Finish as Bulldogs Sweep UNC Greensboro
CHARLESTON, S.C. – Johnathan Stokes' RBI single to left with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth capped of a wild six-run final frame and gave The Citadel a 8-7 victory and a series sweep over visiting UNC Greensboro Sunday afternoon at Riley Park. The Bulldogs improve to 16-21 on the season and 7-8 in the Southern Conference.
Trailing 7-2 after eighth complete, UNCG's Dylan Hathcock quickly retired Calvin Orth and Stokes to put the Spartans within one out of a victory. The Bulldogs had other plans however, using four hits, two errors and three walks to complete the improbable comeback. Ryne Hardwick started the rally with a double down the left-field line and Nick Orvin put runners at the corners with an infield single. Mason Davis lined a double down the left-field line to plate Hardwick and put a pair of runners in scoring position with the Bulldogs down 7-3.
Brennen James replaced Hathcock on the mound for UNCG and promptly walked Justin Mackert to load the bases. Joe Jackson reached on an error by Lloyd Enzor at first, allowing Orvin to score from third with the first of five unearned runs in the frame. Back-to-back bases-loaded walks by Grant Richards and Drew DeKerlegand pushed across two more runs to cut the deficit to 7-6, and forcing UNCG to replace James with Zach Furl. Orth came to the plate for the second time in the frame and reached on a fielding error by shortstop Kris Richards that allowed Jackson to score with the tying run. With the outfield pulled in, Stokes roped a 1-1 pitch over the head of Zach Leach in left and allowed pinch-runner Hayden Hendry to score from third as the Citadel bench raced out to mob the freshman shortstop.
Bryce Hines (1-3) was the lucky winner for the Bulldogs, allowing one hit and walking two in the ninth with one strikeout. Starter Logan Cribb went 4.2 frames and gave up three runs on five hits with four walks and five strikeouts. Orvin led the offense with three hits on the afternoon. The sweep was the first of a SoCon opponent since the Bulldogs took all three from Appalachian State on March 4-5, 2011.
James (1-2) suffered the loss for UNCG, allowing three unearned runs on three walks without recording an out against the four batters he faced. Spartans starter Max Povse scattered four hits and two runs over 5.2 innings with four strikeouts, walking three.
UNCG took a 1-0 lead in the fourth as Richards and Trevor Edwards led off the frame with back-to-back walks off Cribb. One out later, Thomas Troelstrup lined the first pitch from Cribb through the left side for a RBI single to give the Spartans the early lead.
The Spartans increased that lead to 3-0 in the fifth with a pair of runs. Cole Harrison opened the frame with a single to left and was sacrificed to second on a bunt by Leach. A single to left by Bobby Martin moved Harrison to third and Martin went to second on the throw, giving the Spartans a pair of runners in scoring position. Richards knocked a sacrifice fly to deep center to score Harrison with the first run and after Edwards was intentionally walked, Enzor lined a RBIs single to right to plate Martin for the 3-0 lead.
The Bulldogs got a run back in the bottom of the fifth, cutting the deficit to 3-1. Bailey Rush and Hughston Armstrong posted back-to-back walks with one out and Nick Orvin's RBI single to right center plated Rush.
UNCG plated two more runs in the sixth for a 5-1 lead. Tino Leite knocked a one-out double down the left-field line and with two away, Leach and Martin knocked back-to-back RBI singles off reliever Ross White to give the Spartans a four-run advantage. After the Bulldogs scored a single run in the bottom of the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Orth, UNCG plated two more runs for a 7-2 lead in the eighth on a wild pitch by reliever Ryan Hines and a RBI groundout by Enzor before the eventful ninth frame.
The Bulldogs return to action with a non-conference game at Winthrop in Rock Hill on Tuesday evening. First pitch is set for 6:00 p.m.
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