CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern was unable to overcome an early surge by The Citadel and the Bucs' late inning rally fell short on Tuesday night at Riley Park as CSU fell to the Bulldogs, 8-5.
The Bucs (17-19) plated two runs in the top of the first to take the early lead. The Citadel (12-22) responded with three runs in each of their first two at-bats with a two-run home run by Ben Peden providing early excitement to pace the Bulldogs past the Bucs for the second time in the 2017 season.
Michael Sconzo reached base in all five plate appearances on the night going 3-for-3 from the plate and drew two walks to pace the CSU offense. Jason Miller added a two-run single in the top of the eighth inning, while Nate Blanchard scored twice in the contest.
Corey Ireson (0-2) suffered the loss on the mound for CSU going the first 0.1 innings in the game before coming out due to an early bout of wildness. The Bucs pitching staff went the rest of the contest with Daniel Johnson, Wil Hartsell, Eddie Hiott, Jamison Mobbs, Tyler Pickard, and Taylor Cox going the final 8.2 innings to close out the game.
Jordan Buster (2-0) picked up his second win of the season going 2.1 innings in relief of starter Morgan Foulks. Buster retired all seven batters he faced and struck out three in the win. Marlin Morris (S, 1) went the final 1.2 innings in recording his first save of the season
Peden led the way for the Bulldogs with a 2-for-3 performance from the plate with a game-high four RBI to go with his first inning home run.
Charleston Southern loaded the bases twice in the top of the first on their way to scoring two runs in their opening at-bats. Chris Singleton brought home the first run with a high-bouncing grounder to shortstop allowing Nate Blanchard to score. Two batters later, Kyle Vesnesky drew a bases-loaded walk bringing home Jason Miller to give the Bucs the 2-0 lead.
The Bulldogs took the lead in the bottom half of the frame with Peden's home run highlighting the frame. Jonathan Sabo brought home the first run with a RBI single up the middle scoring Clay Martin. Peden followed with a drive just inside the right field foul pole giving The Citadel the 3-2 lead.
Peden followed up with a two-run single to right field scoring Martin and William Kinney in the bottom of the second to give the Bulldogs the 5-2 lead. Joe Sabatini followed with a sacrifice fly to right scoring Sabo to make The Citadel's advantage four runs after two innings.
Both teams' bullpens settled into a pitchers' duel over the next three innings as CSU's Hartsell and Hiott matched The Citadel's Buster, Jordan Merritt, and Beau Strickland with zeroes through the fifth inning.
The Bulldogs added their seventh run of the contest in the bottom of the sixth as Sabatini's single to right brought home Kinney. However, the Bucs' relay on the play caught Sabatini at third to end the frame and limit The Citadel's threat.
CSU rallied back for three runs in the top of the eighth as the Bucs took advantage of a one-out bases-loaded situation and a Bulldog error to narrow the gap. Mike Sconzo opened the inning with a leadoff single through the left side. Vesnesky was hit by a pitch, and then Cody Smith reached on a Citadel error to load the bases. Blanchard brought the first run home with a walk scoring Sconzo. Two batters later, Jason Miller followed with a two-run single through the right side of the infield scoring Vesnesky and Smith to cut the lead down to 7-5.
The Bulldogs added a run in the bottom of the eighth on a Sabo sacrifice fly down the left field line. The drive was deep enough to bring home Kinney and make The Citadel's lead 8-5 after eight innings.
CSU mounted another rally in the top of the ninth as Sconzo connected on a one-out single to right field against Martin. Smith added a two-out single to right field, but he was thrown out trying to advantage to second following a bobble by the Bulldogs' right fielder on the play to close out the contest.
Charleston Southern travels to Harley Park in Spartanburg, S.C. to take on USC Upstate tomorrow night. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.
Probable Pitching Matchup
Charleston Southern is projected to start RHP Kyle Dyson (0-1, 5.67 ERA). USC Upstate is expected to counter with RHP Jake Bourke (0-0, 5.62 ERA).