Charleston Baseball suffers first series loss of season against #23 Houston

Charleston lost their first series of the season and was swept for the first time since 2009 this past weekend. Photo courtesy of CofCSports.com.

Charleston lost their first series of the season to Houston this past weekend.
Photo courtesy of CofCSports.com.

The baseball team left Charleston County for the first time this season, flying out to Texas for a three game series against the 23rd ranked University of Houston over the weekend.

In what Baseball America dubbed the nation’s best series of the weekend, Charleston was thoroughly outplayed in two of the three games and were ultimately swept by Houston. It was the first series loss for Charleston in 2014 and was the first time since 2009 that they had been swept in a three game series.

On Friday evening, Charleston ran into Houston’s star pitcher, Aaron Garza, who tossed a complete game in a 8-3 Houston victory.

Garza won his sixth game without a loss this season and held Charleston off the board until the eighth inning. Brandon Murray singled home a run in the eighth and Brandon Glazer hit a two-run homer in the ninth, but Houston’s 8-0 lead allowed them to close the game out comfortably.

Saturday’s afternoon matchup brought much more excitement, as the game came down to the final step- quite literally.

Down 3-0 heading into the eighth inning, Gunnar Heidt hit his third homer of the season, a no-doubt solo shot, to put Charleston on the board.

In the ninth, consecutive singles from Morgan Phillips and Blake Butler put runners on the corner with no outs. Brandon Murray hit a sacrifice fly to score Phillips and narrowed the gap to 3-2.

With Heidt at the plate, Butler successfully stole second base, despite the Houston pitchout.  After Heidt flew out, Carl Wise came up to bat as Charleston’s final hope. Wise lined a hard grounder to shortstop, which was mishandled and the ball rolled into foul territory. Butler rounded third base and went onto score, seemingly tying the game at 3.

Houston, however, appealed the play by stepping on third base and Butler was ruled out for failing to touch the base, which ended the game with Houston winning, 3-2.

A steamed Monte Lee hounded the umpires over the call and was eventually ejected after the game, which ruled him ineligible to coach on Sunday afternoon.

Lost in the frantic end to the game was the solid pitching from Charleston standout freshman, Baliey Ober. Although he suffered his first loss of the season, he recorded his third quality start of the season, going six innings, allowing just two runs, and striking out four. Ober gave up his first walk of the season, after starting his career with 30.1 consecutive innings without a single one.

On Sunday, Charleston looked to steal the final game and took a 1-0 lead into the seventh inning thanks to a Glazer RBI single.

RHP Nathan Helvey kept Houston off the scoreboard through the first six innings, but with two outs in the sixth inning, things began to unravel. After allowing a walk and a single, Helvey was relieved by RHP Chase Henry, who failed to record an out and gave up a two RBI single to give Houston a 2-1 lead.

RHP Michael Hanzik replaced Henry in the eighth inning and gave up five runs on two hits and two walks, as Houston extended their lead and won the game, 7-1.

Murray failed to reach base on Sunday afternoon, which ended his 19 game reached base streak.

There is little time to dwell on the sweep, however, as Charleston will take on #1 South Carolina in Columbia on Tuesday night. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m. and can be heard on ESPN 910 Charleston.

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