South Carolina Holds Off Bulldog Rally to Post 9-5 Victory at Riley Park
Charleston, S.C. – South Carolina hit three home runs including a two-run shot by Joey Pankake in the ninth that put the finishing touches on a 9-5 victory over The Citadel before a crowd of 5,838 on Tuesday night at Riley Park.
The Gamecocks, ranked fifth in the nation by both Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball, improved to 18-3 on the season. The Bulldogs lost for just the third time in their past 12 games and dropped to 14-8. The Citadel will look to even the home-and-home series when the teams meet again on April 9 in Columbia.
Drew DeKerlegand followed with a shot to the alley in left center for a triple which drove in both runners, and DeKerlegand raced home when the relay throw from Pankake eluded third baseman Chase Vergason to pull the Bulldogs within a run.
But South Carolina responded with a run in the eighth and two in the ninth on Pankake's fifth home run of the season off Skylar Hunter. The round tripper was the first allowed this season by the Bulldogs' freshman closer.
The Citadel struck first in the opening inning against Gamecock starter Jack Wynkoop when Mason Davis tripled to center and scored on a sacrifice fly to left by Joe Jackson, his team-leading 26th RBI of the season.
Bulldog starter Logan Cribb allowed only one walk over the first two innings before giving up a two-run homer to Grayson Greiner in the third. LB Dantzler also went deep against Cribb to lead off the fourth and give South Carolina a 3-1 lead. Dantzler leads the Gamecocks with seven homers on the year.
Cribb was hoping to replicate his performance from his freshman season when he blanked South Carolina on eight hits over eight innings in a 2-0 Citadel victory at Riley Park. But Cribb (1-2) was lifted with two outs in the fourth after giving up four hits, walking three and striking out two.
The Gamecocks added to their lead in the fifth with a pair of errors opening the door. TJ Costen reached on an error by third baseman Bret Hines and Shon Carson was safe at first when reliever Zach Sherrill threw wildly to first on a sacrifice attempt. A groundout and a single by Pankake produced two runs to make it 5-1.
The Bulldogs benefited from an error to score a run in the sixth, but Costen doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Carson the following inning to give the Gamecocks a 6-2 lead heading into latter part of the contest.
Wynkoop went the first 5 1/3 innings, surrendering five hits and two runs with one walk and five strikeouts and remained perfect on the year at 4-0. Tyler Webb threw two perfect frames with a pair of whiffs to earn his eighth save.
Davis and Armstrong both had two hits and The Citadel had nine as a team, snapping a streak of six consecutive games with double figures in that department. The Bulldogs were also held without a home run for the first time in five contests after entering the game tied for third in the nation with 21.
Sherrill and David Rivera each threw 1 1/3 innings out of The Citadel bullpen. Sherrill was making his 17th appearance of the season and Rivera worked in his 16th game, ranking the right handers first and second, respectively, in Division I in most games pitched.
Rivalry week continues for The Citadel on Wednesday when the Bulldogs travel up the road to Patriot's Point in Mount Pleasant to take on College of Charleston in a non-conference game beginning at 6 p.m. The Bulldogs then play a three-game set against Charleston Southern, with the teams meeting at Riley Park on Friday and Sunday and at CSU on Saturday.