Senior Day Spoiled in Series Ending Loss to College of Charleston
Charleston, S.C. – The Citadel played catch up all afternoon after falling behind by three runs in the first, but the Bulldog rally eventually fell short in a 7-5 loss to College of Charleston in its final home game of the 2013 season.
The Bulldogs (30-22, 17-10 SoCon) maintained their tenuous hold on second place in the conference standings, remaining percentage points ahead of Elon (18-11) after the Phoenix dropped an 8-6 decision to Samford.
With Elon finished with its SoCon schedule, The Citadel needs to win two of three in its series at UNC Greensboro to take the second seed into the conference tournament, which begins May 22 at Flour Field in Greenville, S.C.
College of Charleston (27-24, 15-11) snapped a four-game losing streak and has not been swept in a conference series since The Citadel turned the trick in 2009.
The Cougars led 6-1 after an RBI double by Gunnar Heidt in the top of the fifth before the Bulldogs began their comeback. Calvin Orth and Johnathan Stokes singled and Brett Bullard walked to load the bases with one out in the bottom of the inning. Mason Davis hit a sacrifice fly to left, and Hughston Armstrong followed with a two-run single to center to pull The Citadel within 6-4.
Two innings later, Bailey Rush made it a one-run game when he launched a 3-2 pitch from Cougar starter Matt Pegler over the fence in right for his second home run of the season and career. But College of Charleston answered in the eighth on an infield single by Devon Reed, a stolen base and a run-scoring single by Blake Butler.
Dre Watts was called upon to secure the two-run lead, and the Cougar senior closer pitched two innings of hitless relief with a pair of strikeouts to earn his sixth save of the season. Stokes reached on an error with one out in the ninth, but Watts got Rush to ground into a fielder's choice and Bullard to pop out to short.
Pegler gained his fourth win of the year against two losses. The preseason SoCon Pitcher of the Year allowed five hits and five runs (four earned) in 6 1/3 innings. Austin Mason (3-4) was lifted with one out in the third after surrendering five hits and five runs (three earned) and took the loss for The Citadel.
The Cougars took advantage of a pair of missed double play opportunities by The Citadel to take their 3-0 lead in the opening inning. After Butler drew a leadoff walk, two ground balls that appeared to be ticketed for twin killings resulted in just one out each, and College of Charleston took advantage on an RBI double by Carl Wise and another two-base hit by Cody Martin that drove in two more.
Butler singled and scored on a passed ball in the second, and another run scored in the third on an errant pickoff throw to first to give the Cougars a 5-0 lead. Bo Thompson snapped an 0-for-27 skid with an RBI single in the fourth to produce The Citadel's first run of the day.
Butler had three of College of Charleston's 12 hits while Wise had two hits and scored three times. The Citadel managed only six hits and struck out nine times against a trio of Cougar pitchers.
The series at UNC Greensboro begins a day earlier since the SoCon tournament gets underway a week from Wednesday. The games against the Spartans on Thursday and Friday are at 6 p.m., followed by a 2 p.m. contest on Saturday.