Bulldogs Split Doubleheader with Spartans on Saturday
Charleston, S.C. – The Citadel Baseball team split a doubleheader with USC Upstate on Saturday afternoon at Riley Park. The Spartans won the opening game, 6-2, in an error-filled contest. In the second game, The Citadel scored early and held on to a 3-2 victory.
Game One (USC Upstate 6, The Citadel 2)
The Bulldogs did not register a hit off Spartan starter Scott DeCecco (4-5) until the fifth inning in the opening game. The sophomore left-hander dominated the majority of the contest, pitching into the ninth inning. DeCecco went 8.1 innings, allowing seven hits, two runs, four walks and struck out three in the victory.
Meanwhile, four errors haunted The Citadel (15-24) and Bulldog starter Matt Talley (Sumter, S.C.) throughout the game. A pair of unearned runs would score in the second when Tyler Miller reached on an error by Matt Simonelli (Orlando, Fla.) at shortstop. A double down the left field line by Austin Liput and an error by Brad Felder (Bowman, S.C.) in left field would then allow Miller to score and an RBI single up the middle by Branden Millhouse would then plate Liput from third to put the Spartans in front, 2-0.
An RBI groundout by Tyler Cook in the third would score Gaither Bumgardner, who singled and advanced to third after a base hit and an errant throw by Drew DeKerlegand (Pearland, Texas) advanced both runners. In the fifth, a sac fly by Luke Weber would score leadoff man Blake Green to bump the lead up to 4-0.
The Citadel managed to get on the board off DeCecco in the bottom of the fifth when William Ladd (Winnsboro, S.C.) walked and moved to third alertly on a groundout when Bumgardner was away from the bag at third base. DeKerlegand punched a base hit up the middle to score Ladd to cut the lead to 4-1.
USC Upstate (14-28) would chase Talley in the sixth when they loaded the bases with three singles and Bumgardner singled to center to score Christian Faust. Talley (2-5) went 5.1 innings, allowing a career-high 11 hits, six runs (three earned) with a walk and five strikeouts. Jeremy Long (Clover, S.C.) entered and Trey Richardson hit a sac fly to right to score Millhouse.
Long and Connor Hitchingham (Jacksonville, Fla.) would keep the Spartans scoreless for the rest of the contest. The Bulldogs did threaten and eventually knocked DeCecco from the game in the ninth when Legare Jones (Columbia, S.C.) singled home Ladd, who walked to lead off the inning. Jake Waller entered for USC Upstate and gave up a base hit to Grant Richards (Morrisville, N.C.) to load the bases but Nick Orvin's (Moncks Corner, S.C.) liner came right back to Waller for a game-ending double play.
Waller recorded his first save of the season while Green and Faust led the offense for Upstate, going 3-for-5 with a run each. Ladd went 1-for-2 with a pair of runs and walks to lead the Bulldogs, while DeKerlegand went 2-for-3 with a walk and an RBI.
Game Two (The Citadel 3, USC Upstate 2)
Austin Pritcher's gem in game two propelled the Bulldogs to a 3-2 victory. Pritcher (Charleston, S.C.) fired 7.0 innings while scattering nine hits. He allowed one unearned run, walked no one and struck out four to pick up his first win since early March.
The Citadel (16-24) scored two runs in the first off USC Upstate (14-29) starter David Roseboom (1-9). Felder walked, moved to second on a failed pickoff attempt and scored when Simonelli reached on an errant throw from Liput at shortstop. After a base hit by Ladd moved Simonelli to third, a sac fly to right by Joe Jackson (Mauldin, S.C.) would score Simonelli to give the Bulldogs an early 2-0 lead.
The Spartans would cut the lead in half in the third when Tyler Miller singled and Millhouse reached on an error by shortstop Calvin Orth (Jacksonville, Fla.). After a groundout moved the runners into scoring position, Bumgardner's infield single would score Miller to make it 2-1.
The Bulldogs would get another run in the fifth when Josh Pless (Boiling Springs, S.C.) singled and moved to second on a base hit by Felder and then to third when Green misplayed the ball in center field. An RBI single to center by Simonelli scored Pless to make it 3-1 for The Citadel.
Justin Russell (Jacksonville, Fla.) came on in relief for the first time in his career in the eighth to relieve Pritcher (4-3). After an easy eighth inning, the Spartans threatened in the ninth with two outs. Catcher Dillon Way reached on an error by Justin Mackert (Cleveland, Ohio) at first base. A double by pinch hitter Anthony Vacca would put runners in scoring position and an RBI single by Millhouse would score Way to put the tying run on third base. Green then roped a ball right to Russell who tossed the ball over to first to end the game and pick up his first career save.
"Game one, we didn't do anything well," said head coach Fred Jordan. "Game two, we caught the ball well and got some timely hits to pull one out. All three of their lefthanders just pounded the strike zone today and did an excellent job. Pritcher did a solid job for us out there in game two."
The Citadel will break for finals for a week and return to the diamond against Presbyterian on Saturday, April 30 at Riley Park. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. Live stats, video and audio will be available along with recap and box score following the action on all new CitadelSports.com.