CHARLESTON, S.C. – Freshmen outfielders Max Ryerson and Kyle Horton became the latest Buccaneers to go deep as Ryerson's eighth-inning grand slam pushed the Charleston Southern baseball team to a 5-2 win Friday night over Georgia State at CSU Ballpark.
Ryerson's slam ignite a CSU (2-3) lineup that put together good at-bats against Georgia State (1-3) starter Hunter Gaddis before finally pushing across four on the go-ahead slam.
Fellow freshman Kyle Horton made two huge momentum swings for the Bucs as he robbed Jake Corso of a home run in the sixth inning to keep it a 2-0 Panther lead, then led off the bottom of the frame with a four-bagger to left and cut the margin to 2-1 and setting the stage for late heroics.
Senior righty Tyler Weekley ended with the no-decision tossing 5.1 innings surrendering five hits, two runs, both earned and striking out nine Georgia State batters nearly matching his counterpart and giving the Bucs a chance for the win.
On the other side, Gaddis took a no-decision after tossing 7.0 innings of seven-hit ball allowing two runs, both earned and striking out eight Buccaneers.
In the eighth, Georgia State had a chance to add to their lead getting a man to third, but senior southpaw Eddie Hiott got a strikeout to end the threat and keep it a 2-1 ballgame. Hiott picked up the win while Will White took the loss for the Panthers and Lucas Ford nailed-down the save for CSU.
How They Scored
- After a Tyler Weekley strikeout began the night, three-straight Panthers singled for a 1-0 lead with Elian Merejo delivering the RBI knock.
- Merejo came up with the final RBI for Georgia State as well with a solo home run to lead off the fourth, but Weekley buckled down to keep it at 2-0.
- Freshman outfielder Kyle Horton gave the Bucs a 2-0 swing as he robbed Jake Corso of a home run to right then smacked his first collegiate home run in the bottom of the frame for a 2-1 Georgia State lead through six innings.
- Seth Owens and Eddit Hiott combined for 2.2 scoreless innings while striking out five and keeping the Panther bats quiet.
- A leadoff double from pinch-hitter Justin Dahill, a walk from Josh Litchfield and fielder's choice on a Hardwick sacrifice bunt attempt loaded the bases with nobody out.
- Freshman righty Joseph Brandon struck out two CSU hitters putting the pressure on Ryerson with two-down and the bases still loaded.
- Ryerson sent a first-pitch fastball to right center clearing the fence and delivering CSU their first lead of the night. The freshman smacked his first home run as a Buccaneer and became the second CSU player with a grand slam joining Dante Blakeney.
- Lucas Ford spun a perfect ninth with a strike out and two fly outs to collect his first save in a Buccaneer uniform
News and Notes
- Josh Litchfield had another two-hit day as he has a five-game hit streak to begin the season and collected a hit in the final four games of the 2018 season.
- Junior two-way player Ryan Stoudemire also extended his hit streak with a knock while junior second baseman Reid Hardwick made it four-straight games reaching first safely.
- Both Kyle Horton and Max Ryerson homered Friday night giving the freshman duo their first longballs at CSU. Horton's came via a solo round-tripper while Ryerson cleared the bases and delivered the game-winning hit.
- Ryerson became the second Buccaneer with a grand slam joining Dante Blakeney.
- CSU now has four home runs, each from a different player – two coming as solo blasts and two grand slams.
- The Bucs also played an error-free ballgame while combining to strikeout 15 batters and walk 0 Panthers.
What They're Saying
"My approach was to just find any way to drive a guy in and find a way to give us the lead heading into the ninth. Our gameplan was to just fight and try to get out in front any way possible, while getting to their bullpen. That was our main goal, and I thought we did well tonight. Everybody did a great job piecing it together." – Max Ryerson on his and the team's approach.
"I feel ecstatic right now. I loved the at-bat, but our focus turns to what we can do tomorrow." - Ryerson on his game-winner.
"I thought we had really competitive at-bats throughout the game. We didn't have a whole lot to show for it – one-through-nine did a great job of competing against a guy with really food stuff. It was a matter of staying the course and keep doing what we were and hopefully things will start going our way more." – Ward on the team's approach to facing Gaddis.
"Kyle and Max have stepped in and hit the ground running – they're two guys that really aren't afraid of the moment. They're doing a good job of mixing in. They're two talented guys and they've played well so far." – Ward on Horton and Ryerson's night.
CSU and Georgia State return to the diamond Saturday as they'll play two to finish off the weekend due to expected weather in the Charleston area Sunday. First pitch Saturday is slated for 1 p.m.