May 1, 2011

The Citadel Takes Two on Sunday to Sweep Presbyterian

Charleston, S.C. – The Citadel Baseball turned seven double plays on Sunday, including a school-record five in game one, to sweep Presbyterian in a three-game non-conference set at Riley Park.

The Bulldogs, who had turned just 22 double plays all season, induced Presbyterian into nine double plays in three games over the weekend. The sweep is only the second of the season for The Citadel, who took all three games from Appalachian State on March 4-5.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs got strong pitching all weekend as the staff posted an ERA of 1.67. All three starters put in quality work, going 6.0 innings each and allowing one earned run or less. On the weekend, The Citadel outscored Presbyterian, 26-7, in three games.

The Citadel 8, Presbyterian 2 (Game One)

In game one, The Citadel (18-24) stole a season-high nine bases and turned a school-record five double plays to down Presbyterian, 8-2. The Bulldogs would strike first as Josh Pless (Boiling Springs, S.C.) led off the third inning with a double and eventually came around to score on a sac fly from Matt Simonelli (Orlando, Fla.) to make it 1-0.

Presbyterian (18-25) would take advantage of a Bulldog error to tie the game in the fourth when Mack Hite reached on an error at third, moved to second on a base hit and scored on an RBI single from Tony Micklon off Bulldog starter Austin Pritcher (Charleston, S.C.).
 
The Citadel would take the lead for good in the bottom of the fourth when Joe Jackson (Mauldin, S.C.) led off with his second career triple to right center. After a strikeout, Brad Felder (Bowman, S.C.) walked and looked to be caught in a run down between first and second, but stayed safe at first after Jackson took advantage of the situation and stole home to score the second run of the game. After a walk to Calvin Orth (Jacksonville, Fla.) and a double steal by Felder and Orth, Pless would bring in Felder on a sac fly to right to make it 3-1.

The Blue Hose would cut into the lead in the fifth when Nate Horton doubled, moved to second on a bunt single up the third base line and scored on an error at second base. Felder launched his fifth homer of the season and 17th of his career in the sixth to increase the Bulldogs lead to 5-2 and knock PC starter Buck Bosteller from the game. Bosteller (3-5) went 5.1 innings, allowing seven hits, five runs, four walks and struck out three in the loss.

In the seventh, the Bulldogs would strike for three off the Blue Hose bullpen as Simonelli singled, William Ladd (Winnsboro, S.C.) was hit by a pitch and Jackson walked to load the bases. After a pitching change, Justin Mackert (Cleveland, Ohio) hit a sac fly to deep in the hole at short to plate Simonelli and Orth broke open the game with a ground-rule double to right to plate Ladd and Jackson to make it 8-2.

TJ Clarkson (Coral Springs, Fla.) earned his third save of the season by pitching the final 3.0 innings without allowing a run and scattering three hits with a pair of strikeouts. Simonelli went 3-for-4 to lead the Bulldogs while Felder and Orth each added a pair of RBI. Pritcher (5-3) earned the win, going 6.0 innings, allowing seven hits, two runs (one earned) with no walks and a strikeout.

The Citadel 5, Presbyterian 3 (Game Two)

In the second game, Pless roped a game-winning two-run single into center field in the bottom of the eighth to break a tie ball game and lead The Citadel to the sweep of Presbyterian, 5-3.

"I was just looking for a good pitch to hit and was able to hit a curveball that hung over the plate and take it the other way," said Pless of his game-winning single in the eighth. "Hopefully we can built off a win like that and use it as a springboard for a big week ahead as we get back into conference play."

Mackert led off the eighth inning with a double just inside the right field line and an infield single by Felder would put runners on the corners with no outs and chase Blue Hose starter Steven Richardson from the game. Felder would steal second off new PC reliever Chandler Knox and after a shallow fly out to left by Orth, Pless was able to deliver with a single to center to score Mackert and Felder.

Bryce Hines (Hanahan, S.C) earned the win in relief to improve to 4-3 on the season as he pitched the final 2.1 innings, allowing no hits, no runs, a walk and struck out three. Richardson (4-4) took the loss, allowing 11 hits, five runs, one walk and struck out two in 7.0 innings of work.

The Citadel scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning as Nick Orvin (Moncks Corner, S.C.) and Drew DeKerlegand (Pearland, Texas) led the game off with back-to-back singles. After a groundout by Simonelli moved the runners over, Ladd hit a sac fly to right to score Orvin and Mackert then tripled to right center to bring in DeKerlegand for a quick 2-0 lead.

Justin Russell (Jacksonville, Fla.) started the game for the Bulldogs and worked out of a huge first inning jam as the Blue Hose loaded the bases with no outs on three flairs to the outfield. After a fly out to shallow left, Russell was able to get Horton to ground into one of seven double plays on the day to end the threat. PC was able to cut the lead in half in the third when they started the frame off with a pair of base hits and eventually scored when Horton's groundout scored Hite, who reached on an error at shortstop.

Russell went 6.0 innings, allowing seven hits, one unearned run, two walks and struck out three in the no-decision. The Blue Hose would get to Connor Hitchingham (Jacksonville, Fla.) and the Bulldog bullpen in the seventh inning when Hite singled and moved to third on a double by Brad Zebedis with one out. After inducing a pop up for the second out, Horton lined a base hit up the middle to score Hite and Zebedis to knot the game at 3-3.

DeKerlegand tied his career high in hits, going 3-for-4 with a run while Mackert went 3-for-4 with a pair of runs, an RBI, a triple and a double. Legare Jones (Columbia, S.C.) and Felder had two hits apiece as well. Mack went 3-for-5 with a pair of runs while Horton had all three RBI to lead the Blue Hose.

"Our guys pitched to contact all weekend and we played pretty good defense behind them and that was key today," said head coach Fred Jordan. "It was good for us to win a game like we did in the finale here today. They were able to tie it up and had us on the ropes a little bit, but our guys battled and we got a timely hit to win it when we needed to."

The Citadel continues their nine-game homestand on Wednesday when they host Winthrop at 6 p.m. at Riley Park. Live stats, video and audio will be available along with recap and box score following the action on all new CitadelSports.com.

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