March 30, 2012

Charleston Southern rallies late to overtake Campbell 4-3 in ten innings

BUIES CREEK – Charleston Southern (9-18, 2-2 BSC) third baseman John Faircloth connected on a two-out three-run homer in the ninth inning that rallied CSU from a 3-0 deficit, and the Buccaneers went on to score the winning run in the tenth inning to take a 4-3 win over Campbell in Friday's Big South Conference game. The loss for the Camels (23-4, 3-1 BSC) snaps an 18-game winning that goes down as the most consecutive wins in program history and the third longest streak in conference history.

The game turned out to be a pitcher's showdown between Campbell ace Matt Sergey and Buccaneer starter Ryan Gunther. Sergey allowed just four hits over the first eight innings, sitting down eight consecutive CSU batters at one point. His stellar performance was matched by Gunther, who surrendered just four hits through the first five innings on the mound.

Ben McQuown provided the first offensive burst of the game during his leadoff at-bat in the sixth inning. After taking a called strike on a 3-0 pitch that just caught the corner of the plate, the junior from Waianae, Hawaii then drilled the next pitch over the leftfield fence for his first home run of the season to give the Camels a 1-0 lead.

After back-to-back singles from Michael Felton and Jake Kirkland, Nick Ray came through with an RBI single to make it a two-run Campbell advantage heading to the seventh inning. Felton finished the night 3-for-4 with a walk, raising his batting average to .464 this year.

CU added another run in the eighth inning, using a one-out walk from Kirkland and a single from Bryce Grady to end Gunther's night after 7.1 innings of work in which he allowed nine hits and three runs. David Olson then recorded an RBI groundout against CSU reliever Kyle Ward to give Campbell a 3-0 lead going into the ninth.

Infield singles from Jaren Sustar and Chase Shelton brought the tying run to the plate for Charleston Southern. Faircloth responded with his first home run of the season with the dramatic two-out homer that extended the game tied at 3-3. Sergey left after tossing nine innings and scattering seven hits and three runs, striking out eight while walking just one batter in the no decision.

Campbell loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth with one out, but the team was unable to push across the winning run as Corey Deighan worked out of a jam for CSU with a strikeout and a groundout to send the game to extra innings.

The Buccaneers brought the winning run to the plate in the tenth inning on the heels of two infield singles, a sacrifice bunt and a throwing error that scored Harrison Wilkins to give CSU a 4-3 lead. Deighan then retired Campbell in order during the bottom of the tenth to pick up the victory for Charleston Southern, moving to 2-2 on the season. Matt Marksberry took the loss for CU, allowing one unearned run on two hits after pitching the tenth inning.

The two teams will meet for a doubleheader on Saturday, with Game 1 set to get underway at 2 p.m.