February 16, 2013

Citadel Holds Off Kansas State Rally to Move to 2-0 on Opening Weekend

Charleston, S.C. – Bo Thompson slammed a mammoth three-run homer to cap a six-run third inning, helping The Citadel build an early 8-1 lead, and the Bulldogs withstood a late Kansas State rally for a 10-8 victory in day two of the Homewood Suites Tournament presented by Charleston Crab House. 

The Citadel is 2-0 on the young season and has scored 19 runs while banging out 28 hits in wins over George Mason and the Wildcats. The Bulldogs will look to sweep their first of two home tournaments this season on Sunday when they face High Point at 1:30.

In the earlier game on Saturday, High Point defeated George Mason 8-6. The Panthers are 1-1 in the tournament while the Patriots are 0-2.

The victory enabled The Citadel to even the all-time series with Kansas State at one win apiece. In the only previous meeting, the Wildcats edged the Bulldogs 2-1 on Feb. 21, 2010 at Riley Park.

After leading by as many as seven runs early in the game, The Citadel saw Kansas State (1-1) reach closer Skylar Hunter for three hits and two runs in the ninth to pull within two. But Hunter responded by fanning Tanner Witt with the tying runs in scoring position to finally secure the victory.

Tyler Griffin hit a solo homer to left in the second, and Kansas State tied it with an unearned run off Citadel starter James Reeves in the top of the third. In the bottom of the frame, the first seven Bulldogs reached base and the second of two Kansas State errors in the inning allowed Johnathan Stokes to score to break the tie.

Joe Jackson lined a two-run single to center before Thompson easily cleared the fence in left center to give the Bulldogs a 7-1 advantage. Jackson had two hits on the day and is 6-for-10 with seven RBI through the first two games of the season.

Mason Davis and Drew DeKerlegand had back-to-back triples to open the bottom of the fourth to make it 8-1, and later in the inning Thompson took advantage of a surprised Wildcat defense to swipe his second career base after drawing a walk. Stokes added a steal of home in the fifth, sprinting to the plate as Davis scampered back to first to get out of a rundown.

Reeves worked the first five innings, allowing six hits and three runs (two earned) with four strikeouts and no walks to earn the victory. Five relief pitchers followed Reeves to the hill with Brett Tompkins touched up in the sixth for three hits and three runs, only one of which was earned, to bring the Wildcats within 9-6.

Zach Sherrill pitched 1.2 innings of two-hit shutout ball, and Kevin Connell and David Rivera combined for a scoreless eighth. Kansas State starter Joe Flattery did not retire any of the seven batters he faced in the third and was tagged with the loss.

After seeing its lead trimmed to three, The Citadel added an important insurance run in the seventh when Stokes scored on an infield grounder by Davis.

Hughston Armstrong continued his hot weekend by going 3-for-3 to give him five hits in six official at bats. Griffin also had three hits including a triple and DeKerlegand joined Jackson with two base knocks.  

Sunday's game against High Point can be seen on Bulldog Insider by going to www.CitadelSports.com.

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