The College of Charleston didn’t get their first of five extra innings wins in 2014 until April 25. The Cougars beat that by over two months in 2015.
Charleston won 8-7 against crosstown rival, The Citadel, in a chilly 11-inning affair at Patriots Point in the 2015 home opener.
Bradley Jones led off the 11th inning with a single and proceeded to steal second. He then advanced to third base on a wild pitch, setting up an ideal situation for the Cougars with zero outs.
Champ Rowland hit a bouncing ball up the middle that The Citadel’s shortstop made a diving stop for, but by the time the fielder could throw to home plate, Jones was in safe for the winning run.
The game went back and forth on the scoreboard for much of the afternoon.
Jones and Rowland started the damage for the Cougars in the second inning. Jones doubled home a run before Rowland hammered a shot over the left field wall for a 3-0 Charleston lead.
The Citadel tied the game in the third inning with a two-RBI triple followed by a RBI double.
Charleston took the lead right back in the bottom of the third thanks to a RBI single by Erven Roper.
The Citadel scored one run in the fifth and one run in the seventh to take a 5-4 lead.
Carl Wise gave Charleston the lead back in the bottom of the seventh with a three-run homer that scored Rowland and Nick Pappas for a 7-5 lead.
Charleston starter Taylor Clarke lasted four innings in the 30-degree weather, allowing three runs but striking out six batters. He was pulled for freshman Wade Arduini, who allowed two runs in two-plus innings of work.
Hayden McCutcheon, who has emerged as the most reliable reliever for the Cougars, stopped the bleeding and pitched 1.1 innings, allowing no hits.
With McCutcheon having pitched over an inning in the frigid temperatures, head coach Monte Lee turned to Chase Henry to close the game out in the ninth inning. Henry walked the first batter he saw, before throwing two errant pitches that allowed The Citadel’s runner to reach third. A groundout scored the runner from third to close Charleston’s lead to 7-6.
Henry allowed two singles before a deep sac fly scored the tying run for The Citadel, sending the game to extra innings and setting up Rowland’s heroics in the 11th.
“We did a lot of good things offensively tonight,” Lee said. “We had two big innings and took advantage of some free passes. Carl Wise was huge for us with the big home run to put us ahead. The Citadel played with a lot of energy. Like I tell the guys, I’ll take an ugly win over a beautiful loss any day.”
The Cougars will now head across town to Riley Park to play on The Citadel’s home field tomorrow at 2 p.m. The series shifts back to Patriots Point for game three on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.