May 4, 2011

Ladd and Jackson Lead The Citadel Past Winthrop, 7-4

Charleston, S.C.William Ladd's bases-clearing triple in the bottom of the fifth inning and Joe Jackson's career-high four hits powered The Citadel to a 7-4 victory over Winthrop on Wednesday evening at Riley Park as the Bulldogs wrapped up an eight-game out of conference slate.

The Citadel (20-24) has now won five games in a row, matching the longest winning streak of the season for the Bulldogs as they return to conference action this weekend when they host Elon at Riley Park. The Bulldogs recorded double digit hits for the 11th time in their last 14 games as the offense finally broke through against Winthrop (21-25) after scoring just one run in two games against the Eagles in the first two meetings this season.

Both teams scored a run in the first inning as Eddie Rohan poked a base hit into right field, advanced to second on a wild pitch from Bulldog starter Bryce Hines (Hanahan, S.C.) and scored when Matt Lobacz double to right field. In the bottom of the frame, Nick Orvin (Moncks Corner, S.C.) blooped a single into shallow right on the first pitch he saw from Winthrop starter Wade Newman. Orvin then stole second, moved to third on a groundout by Drew DeKerlegand (Pearland, Texas) and scored on an RBI groundout off the bat of Matt Simonelli (Orlando, Fla.) to tie the game at 1-1 after one inning.

The Bulldogs would take the lead in the bottom of the second when Jackson picked up one of his career-high four hits on the day, knocking a base hit through the left side. Brad Felder (Bowman, S.C.) then extended his hitting streak to 14 games when he singled to right to put runners on the corners as Jackson moved to third. An RBI groundout by Calvin Orth (Jacksonville, Fla.) would score Jackson and put The Citadel in front, 2-1.

Lobacz walked with the bases loaded in the top of the third to score Max Vogel, who led off the inning with a single to tie the game at 2-2. Hines went 3.0 innings, allowing four hits, two runs, a walk and struck out three in a no-decision.

In the fifth inning, Orvin and DeKerlegand singled and Simonelli drew a walk to load the bases against Newman. William Ladd (Winnsboro, S.C.), who struck out his first two at-bats against Newman, then hit the first pitch he saw from the right-hander into the left field corner for a bases-clearing triple and would later come in to score on a wild pitch from Eagle reliever Tommy Lawrence to put The Citadel in front for good, 6-2.

"My first two at-bats were pretty tough, it seemed like I had a hole in my bat," said Ladd. "I got a good pitch to hit in my third at-bat and was finally able to hit it and come through. It's nice to get the bats going against Winthrop this season after struggling the first two games against them. We have our work cut out for us this weekend with Elon, but we are carrying some momentum and always give it our best against them so it should be fun."

Newman (0-4) went 4.1 innings, allowing eight hits, six runs, a walk and struck out five in the loss. Jeremy Long (Clover, S.C.) would pick up the win in relief to improve to 4-2 on the season when he set down all six batters he faced in a perfect 2.0 innings of work with a pair of strikeouts.

In the seventh, Simonelli singled off new Eagle reliever Austin Stuart, stole second and moved to third on a groundout by Ladd. A wild pitch by Stuart would give the Bulldogs their seventh run of the game as Simonelli touched home. The Eagles would not go away however as Tyler Cook walked to lead off the eighth inning and scored when Eddie Rohan hit a two-run homer to left off Bulldog reliever Logan Cribb (Rock Hill, S.C.) to cut the lead to 7-4.

The Bulldogs would then go to TJ Clarkson (Coral Springs, Fla.) out of the bullpen, who worked his way out of trouble after walking two Eagles and hitting another to load the bases. Clarkson struck out Chas Crane and Oleszuk to get out of the jam and retired all three batters he faced in the ninth inning to lock down his fourth save of the season.

"Ladd had an outstanding third at-bat against Newman after missing on some pitches in his first two appearances," said head coach Fred Jordan. "That ended up being the biggest swing of the game. We didn't want to keep Hines out there too long after his work over the weekend and I thought Cribb, Long and Clarkson did an excellent job out of the bullpen. Hopefully we will continue the momentum into the weekend against Elon."

Jackson went 4-for-4 with a run for The Citadel while Ladd went 1-for-4 with a run, a triple and three RBI. Orvin went 2-for-5 with a pair of runs and two stolen bases as well. Rohan went 2-for-4 with two runs and two-run homer to lead the Eagles.

"It was nice to get a win over these guys," said Jackson of his four-hit performance against Winthrop. "The team feels good right now, we have played well lately. Our pitching is improving, our defense is tightening up and we are hitting the ball a little bit too. We are looking forward to getting back into league play this weekend."

The Citadel hosts first place Elon in a pivotal Southern Conference series this weekend in the final home series of the season beginning Friday at 4 p.m. at Riley Park. All three games will be broadcast live by play-by-play announcer Darren Goldwater on Sports Radio 1450 AM in Charleston and on all new CitadelSports.com. Live stats and video will also be available along with recap and box score following each game.

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