April 28, 2013

The Citadel's 10-Game Winning Streak Ends when Furman Rallies from Seven-Run Deficit

Greenville, S.C. – Furman used an eight-run second inning to overcome a huge early deficit, and the Paladins went on to end The Citadel's 10-game winning streak with a 14-10 victory in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader at Latham Stadium.

The Bulldogs won the first game 13-7 and took the series two games to one. The Citadel is 27-18 overall and 14-7 in the SoCon, trailing only Western Carolina (18-6) in the conference standings. Furman (23-19, 10-14) defeated the Bulldogs for only the fifth time in the past 19 meetings.

The Citadel picked up where they left off in the opening game of the twinbill when it scored 11 runs in the final four innings by tallying six times in the first inning of the nightcap. Mason Davis tripled and scored on a single by Hughston Armstrong, Drew DeKerlegand had a sacrifice fly and Calvin Orth made it 3-0 with an RBI single with only one out in the frame.

The singles extended both Armstrong's and Orth's hitting streaks to nine games. Bo Thompson, who had a career-high five hits including two homers and five RBI in the first game, walked in the inning and has now reached base in 44 consecutive games.

Johnathan Stokes continued his red hot hitting with a double that drove in the fourth run, and Bailey Rush capped the uprising with a two-run single. Rush added his first career home run in the seventh and had five hits and six RBI in the doubleheader after not playing until entering the first game as a pinch hitter in the sixth inning.

Rush had a single, double and triple in the opener to hit for the cycle in the two games. Prior to Saturday's games, the sophomore third baseman had only five extra base hits and six RBI in his first 29 games this season and raised his batting average from .203 to .250.

The Citadel added a run in the second on Joe Jackson's solo homer, his eighth of the season and sixth straight SoCon series in which he has left the yard. The junior catcher only had one career home run entering the 2013 campaign.

Bulldog starter Austin Mason, coming off two starts in which he did not allow an earned run in 12 2/3 innings, looked sharp in the first inning with a pair of strikeouts before the Paladins exploded in the second. Furman sent 13 batters to the plate and had eight hits, highlighted by two-run safeties by Hunter Burton and Greg Harrison, to go in front 8-7.

The Paladins added a single run in the third, two in the fourth and three in the fifth to build a 14-8 lead. The Bulldogs appeared ready to get back in the game in the sixth, loading the bases with nobody out, but had to settle for one run when Jackson grounded into a double play and a sharp line drive off the bat of DeKerlegand that was ticketed for center somehow found the glove of Furman pitcher Jacques de Gruy.

Rush homered in the seventh to make it a four-run game, but the Bulldogs were never able to get the potential tying run to the plate. The rally from a seven-run deficit to win tied a record for a Citadel opponent, a mark last accomplished by Wofford during the 2010 season.

Brett Tompkins turned in a solid relief effort for the Bulldogs, working the final three innings and allowing only one hit while striking out five, matching his total from his first six appearances this season.

The Citadel is back in action on Wednesday when it travels to Chapel Hill, N.C., to face the top-ranked Tar Heels before resuming SoCon play at Riley Park against Davidson on Friday at 6 p.m.

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