April 22, 2012

Bulldogs Drop Heartbreaker in 11 Innings to Charleston

MT. PLEASANT, S.C. – Rob Harding's one-out single in the bottom of the 11th scored Brandon Murray from second and gave the College of Charleston a 6-5 victory over The Citadel Sunday evening at The Ballpark at Patriots Point in Southern Conference action. With the loss, the Bulldogs fall to 17-24 on the season, 7-11 in the SoCon, and host Georgia Southern next weekend at Riley Park.

With the score knotted at 5-5, Bradley Goodson doubled off the wall in left to lead off the 11th. TJ Clarkson intentionally walked Murray to set up the force out and Daniel Aldrich popped up a fielder's choice on a bunt, with the Bulldogs getting Goodson, the lead runner, at third. Harding then slapped a 0-1 pitch through the left side that plated Murray with the winning run.

The extra-inning game was the first ever played between the two local rivals in a 104-game history that dates back to 1899. The Citadel leads the all-time series, 58-46, but the Cougars have taken the last five meetings.

Joe Jackson led the Bulldogs with three hits on the evening, while Hughston Armstrong collected three RBI. Clarkson (1-4) suffered the loss, allowing one run on two hits and three walks in two innings with two strikeouts. Fellow reliever Ryan Hines turned a solid performance, scattering three hits over 4.1 shutout innings and striking out three. Starter Logan Cribb gave up five runs on eight hits in four innings with three strikeouts and three walks.

Charleston (29-12, 17-7) was led by Harding's four hits, three of them RBI singles. Marty Gantt added three hits and Goodson two. David Peterson picked up the win, his first of the season, tossing two no-hit innings with one strikeout. Starter Matt Pegler was tagged for five runs – three earned – on six hits in 5.2 innings with six strikeouts and three walks.

The Cougars jumped on the board first in the opening stanza, scoring a single run on a RBI single by Harding for a 1-0 lead. The Bulldogs answered quickly, plating two runs in the second for a 2-1 advantage. Jackson led off with an infield single and advanced to third on Drew DeKerlegand's single to left center. Calvin Orth drilled a hard grounder to the pitcher that plated Jackson and advanced DeKerlegand to third. DeKerlegand scored an unearned run when Murray dropped Bailey Rush's two-out fly ball to left, giving the Bulldogs a one-run edge.

Charleston evened the score at 2-2 in the third on Harding's second RBI single of the game and took a 4-2 lead in the fourth. Back-to-back singles put runners at first and second and Goodson's RBI base hit to right gave the Cougars the lead and Murray sacrifice fly to second allowed Gantt to score the second run of the frame. A RBI groundout by Jimmy Holton increased Charleston's lead to 5-2 in the fifth.

The Bulldogs stormed back with three runs in the sixth to knot the game at 5-5. Jackson led off the frame with another single, this time to right, and DeKerlegand's single to right put runners at the corners with one away. One out later, Rush drew a full-count walk to load the bases and Armstrong drove a 0-1 pitch for a three-run double down the right-field line to pull the Bulldogs even. Armstrong advanced to third on play as Aldrich misplayed the ball in the right-field corner.

Both teams' bullpens held each other scoreless over the next four innings, stranding a total of five runners before the Cougars pulled out the win in the 11th.  

Friday's first pitch against Georgia Southern is set for 6:00 p.m. and can be heard on Sports Radio 1450 AM with Danny Reed handling the play-by-play.

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