Late inning rally pushes CSU past FIU in Saturday's series finale

Late inning rally pushes CSU past FIU in Saturday's series finale

MIAMI, Fla. - Jason Miller drove in the game-winning runs with a single in the top of the ninth and Ryan Stoudemire pitched around a solo home run in the FIU at-bat in the bottom of the frame as Charleston Southern took the series finale from the host Panthers on Saturday afternoon, 6-5.

Miller connected on a one-out single to right field and the FIU (9-7) outfielder misplayed the ball allowing both Kyle Vesnesky and Nate Blanchard to score on the play to stake CSU (9-4) to the 6-4 lead in the ninth.

C.J. Witkowski answered with a one-out pinch-hit home run in the bottom of the ninth for the Panthers, but Stoudemire (3-0) recovered to get the final two outs and close out the win as the Bucs salvaged the series finale at FIU.

Stoudemire went the final 1.1 innings in relief in picking up his team-leading third victory of the season. The freshman allowed the aforementioned solo home run in facing one over the minimum batters in his appearance.

Nik Constantakos recorded another strong outing for the Bucs in the start on Saturday afternoon. The freshman right-hander went 6.0 innings and struck out a season-high eight batters before turning the ball over the bullpen in the seventh with the 4-3 lead. Eddie Hiott and Jamison Mobbs pitched the next 1.2 innings before Stoudemire took over with two outs in the eighth.

Brandon Gragilla continued to have a monster weekend at the plate as the senior designated player recorded his second consecutive three-hit game. Gragilla connected on a pair of doubles and led CSU with two RBI in the contest. Mike Sconzo added three hits and two doubles, while Nate Blanchard had his third three-hit game of the season atop the CSU lineup.

Overall, the Bucs connected on 14 hits and consistently kept runners on base to pressure the FIU pitching staff throughout the game.

Franklin Van Gurp (0-1) suffered the loss for the Panthers in the contest allowing three hits and two runs in 2.0 innings' work. Dominic LoBrutto went the first 6.0 innings for FIU, while Chandler Raiden closed out the final inning.

The Bucs took the lead in the top of the first as Gragilla connected on the first of his two doubles on the afternoon. This one went to left field and brought home Jason Miller and Chris Singleton with one out to give CSU the 2-0 lead.

Zack Soria responded for the Panthers in the bottom half of the inning with a double driving in Kenny Memerstorf and Javier Valdes to even the game at 2-2.

Adam Andrew put the Bucs back in the lead in the top of the fourth with a sacrifice fly scoring Mike Sconzo. Sconzo reached on a leadoff double and advanced to third on Aaron Miller's infield single.

Sconzo and Gragilla connected on back-to-back doubles in the top of the sixth to give CSU the 4-2 lead.

Zach Files narrowed the gap with a sacrifice fly scoring Jack Schaaf in the bottom of the sixth. Soria continued to swing the hot bat on the weekend and tied the game up at 4-4 with a two-out solo home run in the eighth.

Miller came up with the RBI single scoring Vesnesky in the ninth and an error by the FIU right fielder allowed Blanchard to score on the play to give CSU the 6-4 lead.

Witkowski followed with a one-out solo home run to cut into the CSU lead in the ninth, but Stoudemire retired the final two batters to close out the win.

Buccaneer Notables

  • Brandon Gragilla continues to power the CSU offense early in the season. The senior designated hitter leads the Bucs with a .425 batting average and is tied for the team lead with five doubles and 10 RBI over the first 13 games of the season. He also leads the team with eight walks.
  • Stoudemire tied for the Big South lead for wins on the season picking up his third victory in Saturday's series finale. All three wins have come in relief for the Bucs. He is also currently tied for sixth in the conference with one save.
  • Mike Sconzo's three-hit game on Saturday was his first three-hit contest of the 2017 season. The junior catcher connected on a pair of doubles among his three hits and raised his batting average to .286 on the year.

Up Next
Charleston Southern makes the trip to Lexington County Stadium for a Tuesday night matchup against North Greenville University. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.

View: Mobile | Desktop