CHARLESTON, S.C. – A late five-run push by The Citadel broke a 5-5 tie as the Bulldogs downed the visiting Elon Phoenix by an 11-8 margin from Riley Park on Saturday, March 7. The two will play the deciding game of the series at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
With the score even at five, Jason Smith led off the bottom of the seventh with a single to center. Johnathan Stokes followed with a shot deep down the right field line that, after a discussion among the three umpires, was ruled a two-run home run to put The Citadel (6-7) on top, 7-5. The Bulldogs would go on to add another three runs in the inning and one in the eighth to build an 11-5 advantage heading to the ninth.
Elon (7-4) looked to rally for the victory in the ninth as Quinn Bower’s leadoff walk was followed by a James Venuto single and a hit batter to load the bases with no outs. Ryan Cooper picked up a RBI when he was hit by a 3-1 pitch before Casey Jones’ single through the left side scored another to make it an 11-7 contest. With one out, Nick Zammarelli drove in a run on a ground out, but the Phoenix was unable to pull any closer as the next hitter grounded out to third.
Ross White (1-0) was the winning pitcher after he tossed one scoreless inning in relief. Skylar Hunter came on to record the final three outs to pick up his fourth save of the year.
Lucas Bakker (1-3) was charged with the loss in relief. He gave up six runs on six hits in 2.1 innings.
The Citadel jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first only to see Elon answer with four in the second. The Phoenix second began with Chris King reaching second on a dropped fly ball. After two walks, Bower drove home two with a one-out single to left-center. Venuto then drove home another with a double and Kory Shumate plated the fourth tally with a ground out.
In the last of the second, the Bulldogs moved back in front, scoring three times to make it a 5-4 game. Elon would tie it with one in the fifth on a Zammarelli double.
The Phoenix offense had nine hits with Jones, Zammarelli and Venuto each having two-hit days at the plate. Bower was 1-for-2 with a walk to run his streak of reaching base safely to 17 consecutive games dating to last season.