Early Deficit Dooms The Citadel in 11-6 Loss to Elon
Charleston, S.C. – The Citadel Baseball team could not overcome an early hole on Friday night as they watched their five-game winning streak come to an end with an 11-6 loss to Elon in front of 3,122 fans in a game that was delayed two hours.
Despite out hitting Elon (31-18, 19-6) and recording double-digit hits for the 12th time in their last 15 games, a 9-1 deficit in the third inning proved to be too much to overcome for The Citadel (20-25, 8-14).
After allowing just one home run all season, Bulldog starter Matt Talley (Sumter, S.C.) surrendered a pair of long balls to Elon in the first three innings in a game that started two hours late due to heavy rain in the Charleston area. Talley (3-6) was touched up for nine hits, 10 runs (seven earned), three walks and struck out seven in 5.2 innings of work.
In the first, an RBI single by Sebastian Gomez scored leadoff man Niko Frazier and a double down the right field line by Alex Swim would then plate Gomez as Elon quickly took a 2-0 lead. Garrett Coster then launched a two-run shot to left to increase the lead to 4-0.
A double by Joe Jackson (Mauldin, S.C.) would lead to the first Bulldog run of the evening in the second off Phoenix starter Ken Ferrer. After a groundout moved him to third, Josh Pless (Boiling Springs, S.C.) hit a sac fly to right to score Jackson to cut the lead to 4-1.
Elon would respond with five runs when Talley walked Harry Austin and Gomez to start the third inning. After a fielding error by Talley on a sac bunt attempt by Neal Pritchard put a runner on every base with no outs, Swim lined a base hit up the middle to plate Austin and Gomez. Talley struck out the next two batters, but a three-run shot by Grant McCoury to left would make the score 9-1.
The Bulldogs would chip away in the third and the fourth as William Ladd (Winnsboro, S.C.) and Justin Mackert (Cleveland, Ohio) singled and Jackson walked to load the bases, all with two outs off Ferrer in the third. Brad Felder (Bowman, S.C.) then extended his hit streak to 15 games when pinch hit and smashed a bases-clearing double off the right field wall to cut the lead to 9-4. An RBI groundout by Matt Simonelli (Orlando, Fla.) would score Grant Richards (Morrisville, N.C.) who singled in the fourth.
Ferrer went just 4.0 innings, allowing eight hits, five runs and three walks with a strikeout in a no-decision. Elon reliever Jared Kernodle (6-1) picked up the win in relief after he went 2.1 innings, allowing three hits, one run and a strikeout.
The two teams would exchange a run apiece in the sixth when Eric Serra was hit by Talley and stole second and third before scoring on an RBI single by Gomez that chased Talley from the game. Nick Orvin (Moncks Corner, S.C.) launched his team-leading eighth homer of the season in the bottom of the frame off Kernodle on a solo shot to left to make it 10-6.
Jeremy Long (Clover, S.C.) closed out the game for The Citadel, pitching a career-high 3.1 innings, allowing three hits, one run, one walk and struck out a career-best seven batters. McCoury doubled to right center to score Cyle Rasmus in the seventh for the final run of the game.
"They hit two balls out of the park and jumped us with nine runs before we could even catch our breath tonight," said head coach Fred Jordan. "I commend our ballclub for fighting back and we had our opportunities, but they made some stellar defensive plays and John Brebbia pitched out of a big jam for them late."
Swim went 3-for-5 with three RBI and two runs while McCoury went 2-for-4 with a run, a double, a homer and four RBI to lead the Phoenix. Felder went 3-for-4 with three RBI to pace the Bulldog offense while Grant Richards tied his career-high with three hits in a 3-for-4 outing with a run scored.
The Citadel and Elon will meet for game two on Saturday at Riley Park. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. and will be 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 the game.