CHARLESTON, S.C. - Cole German made his first collegiate home run count as the sophomore outfielder connected on the walk-off blast to put Charleston Southern past Delaware State on Saturday afternoon at the CSU Ballpark, 3-2.
The Bucs (1-1) plated all three runs in their final two at-bats of the game before German led off the bottom of the ninth with a solo shot that cleared the right field fence and set off the celebration at the ballpark. German battled back from a 0-2 count against DSU reliever Darrien Ragins (0-1) to work it full and set the stage for the walk-off. On the sixth pitch of the at-bat, the Newtown, Pa. native launched the ball into the construction zone behind the fence to cap off the CSU come-from-behind win.
CSU began the comeback attempt in the bottom of the eighth inning after trailing 2-0 since the top of the first. Nate Blanchard began the attempt after reaching on a one-out infield error. He stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch as Chris Singleton drew a walk to put runners on the corners. Singleton stole second and on the throw up the middle, Blanchard was able to cross the plate to put the Bucs on the board. Jason Miller followed with a RBI single to right center allowing Singleton to cross and tie the game up at 2-2.
Cody Smith (1-0) recorded a perfect ninth inning in his first relief appearance of the night to set the table to German. Smith retired the first two batters on strikeouts in the win.
Ryan Stoudemire set the table for the Bucs' comeback attempt with three scoreless innings of relief in his first collegiate appearance. The freshman right-hander allowed one hit and a walk while striking out four in relief of CSU starter Kyle Dyson. Dyson allowed five hits in five innings' work, striking out three and allowing a pair of unearned runs in his first start of the year.
Ragins went 0.2 innings' in relief in the losing effort for the Hornets. Sean McGrath received the no-decision for DSU after going the first 7.1 innings in scattering five hits and two runs (one earned), while striking out four.
Delaware State took the early 2-0 lead in the top of the first on a bases-loaded CSU throwing error that allowed Austin Bentley and Darnell Maisonet to score.
One night after allowing seven extra base hits, the Buccaneers pitching staff allowed just a first inning Austin Bentley double down the left field line for the Hornets' lone extra base swing of the game.
German led the Bucs with a pair of hits in the contest with the sophomore outfielder connecting on a one-out single in the seventh to go with his game-winning home run in the ninth. It was the fourth multi-hit game of his collegiate career.
Mike Sconzo nabbed his second and third potential base stealers of the season on Saturday afternoon. Sconzo threw out Todd Henry attempting to steal second in the third inning, and then pegged Tommy Jordan attempting to swipe third in the seventh. Opponents are 0-for-3 in stolen base attempts against the Bucs in 2017.
German's home run was Charleston Southern's first in eight games dating back to Bryan Dye's solo shot against Coastal Carolina on May 13, 2016. His walk-off home run was CSU's first walk-off hit since Brandon Burris' walk-off RBI single in CSU's 4-3 win over North Florida on February 28, 2015.
Charleston Southern goes for its fourth series win to open the season in the last five years. The Bucs' lone slip-up during the stretch came last season against West Virginia when CSU won the opener but dropped the final two in the set against the Mountaineers.
"Cole German came through with the big swing there, and we got the bats going in the inning prior. We didn't have much going there for 7 innings and then put several good at-bats together to get us going there a little bit. That kind of elevated the mood of the team, and then German added the big swing in the 9th." – Interim Head Coach Adam Ward on the German walk-off.
"That's just the way baseball is sometimes. You don't have anything going for a long time, and then a couple good at-bats can swing things in your direction. The big thing for us tonight was the pitching staff who held it close or a manageable distance. (Kyle) Dyson, (Ryan) Stoudemire, and Cody Smith at the end; they all came in and did a great job getting out of a lot of tight jams. I tip my hat to those guys; they kept it within striking distance. If we pitch like we did tonight, we're going to be in a lot of ballgames and have a chance like tonight to string together a couple hits in the end and get some wins." – Ward on the efforts of his pitching staff on Saturday afternoon.
They Said It
"I was just trying to get a good at-bat; trying to not do too much and maybe square something right up the middle. I worked (the count) full, he threw me a high and in pitch and I just reacted to it. It ended up going over the fence." – Sophomore outfielder Cole German on his walk-off home run.
Freshman right-hander Nik Constantakos is slated for his first collegiate start with the Bucs on Sunday afternoon. He is projected to go up against DSU left-hander Garrett Lawson.
The rubber match between Charleston Southern and Delaware State is set Sunday afternoon with first pitch at the Ballpark slated for 2 p.m.