Baseball avoids sweep with walk-off victory

By Sam Chandler, Sports Editor

 

The baseball team (26-21, 11-7 SoCon) narrowly avoided being swept by The Citadel at home this past weekend, winning the final game of its three game series on Sunday afternoon in walk-off fashion.

“After a bad day Friday, we didn’t really compete well yesterday, and I think our guys got back after it today,” head coach Casey Dunn said. “I was pleased with the way we came out.”

With the score knotted at 3-3 in the bottom of the 10th inning, the Bulldogs needed just three at-bats to plate the winning run.

Junior first baseman Alex Lee started the inning with a leadoff double, battling back from a 0-2 count and fouling off a number of pitches before belting a fly ball that ricocheted off the right field wall.

“A great job by Alex in a two strike at-bat to foul off a couple pitches and get the big double,” Dunn said.

Redshirt freshman pinch hitter Gregory Mula then laid down a textbook sacrifice bunt along the third base line that allowed Lee to advance to third base with only one out.

“You couldn’t roll a ball any better than that,” Dunn said.

A single to right field from junior shortstop Danny Rodriguez in the next at-bat was more than enough to score Lee from third, giving the ‘Dogs a much needed 4-3 victory and snapping the team’s two game losing streak.

“I just wanted to get a pitch I could drive and maybe knock him in with a sac fly or base hit,” Rodriguez said. “I was fortunate to get in that position and just tried to do my best.”

After a pair of rough outings from the starting pitching staff on Friday and Saturday, freshman Tristan Widra put together a sturdy, five-inning performance on the mound, holding The Citadel to two runs on five hits.

Redshirt senior Mark Donham and senior Andres Gracia combined to pitch the game’s final five innings and limited the visiting side to three hits. Although Donham gave up the tying run in the seventh inning, Gracia shut down the The Citadel offense through the final three innings.

“I think the biggest thing is just those guys that pitched get a little confidence,” Dunn said. “Mark and Andres threw longer than they normally do. Tristan, for a freshman, to give us the start he gave us was awesome. I think those three guys can take a lot out of what happened today.”

The team carried its momentum into Tuesday night’s game at Jacksonville State, defeating the Gamecocks 14-13.

The Bulldogs relied heavily on their deep bullpen, using 10 pitchers over the course of nine innings.

Senior Cole Limbaugh earned his second win of the season and Gracia picked up his 10th save.

The ‘Dogs will return to action this weekend when they host Western Carolina in their final three game home series of the 2015 season.

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