The Cougars started out this week with a disappointing 7-3 loss to UNC-Wilmington. Though the game saw Dre Watts (Laurens, SC) score his first homer of the season, it was not enough to lift the team past the Seahawks on March 20th’s game.
Despite this loss, and the missed opportunity to take down Charleston Southern, because of a rain cancellation (to be made up May 9th), the Cougars went into the weekend strong and took down SoCon competitor Davidson in a clean sweep of the weekend’s games.
Friday’s game was the showcase of a vicious onslaught against the Wildcats. The Cougars wasted absolutely no time, making their way onto the board in the bottom of the first after Josh Renfro (Brandenton, FL) successfully struck out two batters and grounded out a third. A single by Bradley Goodson (Jacksonville, FL) started inning off, and was quickly followed by a single from Tyler Jackson (Bishopville, SC). Marty Gantt’s (North Augusta, SC) double brought in the first run of the game, and Watts’ hit by pitch managed to load the bases. A sacrifice fly by Rob Harding (Columbia, SC) brought in another, bringing the score 2-0 with one out on the board. A successful steal of third by Gantt and pitching error on Davidson allowed for another run to be granted to the Cougars. The final run of the inning came when a ground out by Brandon Murray (Nassau, Bahamas) allowed Watts to score an unearned run, finishing the scoring at the bottom of the first 4-0.
Renfro once again kept the Wildcats off the scoreboard through the second, and even the Cougars remained silent in the bottom of the second. The third saw the team once again ratcheting up the scoreboard, with a home run by Murray bringing in two runs. The fourth saw yet another busy inning for the College, with Goodson doubling, advancing on a wild pitch, and the scoring on one as well. Murray added to his RBI with his single bringing in Watts.
The field remained quiet for the next one and a half innings, but that didn’t mean the Cougars were satisfied with their 8-0 lead, as Holton’s hit in the sixth as well as a throwing error brought in three more runs to the College, marking their lead 11-0. The Wildcats finally caught a break in the seventh with a run of their own, but this simply prompted the Cougars to work harder than ever to maintain their lead. A single by Gantt and a double by Watts started off the bottom of the seventh, with a wild pitch brining Gantt in. Four more runs were scored in this inning alone. Though Davidson would go on to score two more runs, it was not nearly enough to topple the Cougar’s lead, ending the game at 16-3.
Saturday’s game was not nearly as dramatic a win, with the plethora of runs coming in solely the first inning. Davidson once again stayed off the scoreboard in the first, but the Cougars would do no such thing. A home run by Gantt brought in three runs, with a home run by Murray bringing in one, making the score 4-0 just as the game started.
The game remained quiet for the next three innings, until the wildcats finally managed to grab themselves a run in the fifth, adding another in the eighth, making the score 4-2. Though still in the lead, the Cougars were quick to enlarge the gap, with a double by Cody Martin (Toccoa, GA) and sacrifice fly by Gunnar Heidt (Garden City, SC) bringing in two runners and finishing out the scoring at 6-2.
The Cougars concluded their sweep on Sunday, this time being sure to completely shut down the wildcats. Once again, the College was eager to get on the score board, with a singles by Murray and Harding starting off the scoring with a run a piece. A ground out by Goodson in the second brought in Holton to bring the score to 3-0. Matt Pegler (Greenville, SC) continued to keep Davidson off the score board in his seven innings as the Cougars continued to build their lead. Murray once again managed an RBI, bringing in a runner in the fifth and making the score 4-0. The team finished off their scoring with a homer by Gantt in the 6th, bringing the score to 6-0.
The Cougars now stand 18-6 overall and 10-2 in the SoCon. Nationally, the team has managed to be ranked fourth in the country in the ERA category, with a 2.28 and Gantt’s 31 runs earn him a spot as seventh in the nation. Murray, with his seven RBIs over the weekend alone, was awarded the SoCon player of the week for his efforts.
The Cougars next play Charleston Southern at home on Tuesday, Mar 27th at 6pm, and play Jacksonville at home Wednesday, Mar 28th at 6pm. This weekend’s SoCon series will be played at Georgia Southern.