Locklear, big sixth inning carry Bucs past Rhode Island, 8-4

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern scored seven runs in the sixth inning to break open a tied game to beat visiting Rhode Island, 8-4, on Thursday afternoon at CSU Ballpark.

CSU improves to 7-2 on the year and 7-1 at CSU Ballpark. URI falls to 1-8 on the year.

Charleston Southern starter Andrew Locklear (WP, 1-0) scattered five hits in six innings and surrendered only an unearned run to pick up his first career win. He had Bucs' head coach Stuart Lake attention following the win.

"Andrew gave us quality start and it a chance to catch our breath and settle into the game," Lake said. "We relaxed behind him and then broke through with the big inning. I'm also proud of Matt Witt and the way he came in and kept (Rhode Island) down."

CSU broke a 1-1 tie in the sixth with its biggest inning of the season to-date. Third baseman Alex Tomasovich and DH Andrew Widell each had RBI doubles, and centerfielder Bobby Ison added a 2-run single as the Bucs ran off Rams' starter Ben Wessel (LP, 0-1). First baseman Robbie Streett, who wasn't originally in the lineup, but came on to replace an injured Brian Welch, got the inning started with a single to right, the first of seven hits by the Bucs in the frame.

"It goes back to good at-bats and good base running," Lake said of the Bucs' explosive sixth. "We started to relax after we took the lead and then it becomes contagious."

Catcher Sam Remick singled home Streett, who took second on a wild pitch, to give the Bucs the lead for good and start the hit parade. After shortstop Nate Blanchard was hit by a pitch, Tomasovich belted a double to the base of the centerfield wall to make it 3-1. Ison hit the next pitch through the left side to score both base runners and build the lead out to 5-1. Nick Berry added an RBI single in the inning and Chase Shelton added one of his three hits on the day into the mix.

CSU fell behind in the third when a single to right field by URI's David Hopkins hopped under Welch's glove and rolled to the wall. Hopkins would score on a squeeze play to give the Rams a 1-0 lead.

The Bucs tied the game in the fourth on a double from freshman Will Hartsell and an RBI groundout from Nate Blanchard.

Shelton finished 3-for-5 with a run scored, while Berry and Ison each added two hits.

Witt worked a scoreless seventh to preserve the Bucs' 8-1 lead at the time.

URI scored a run in the eighth and two in the ninth to cut into the lead in their final two at-bats.

Shortstop R.J. Warnock was 3-for-4 to lead URI.

Charleston Southern returns to action on Saturday against Holy Cross. The Bucs host the Crusaders in doubleheader at 2 p.m. as the teams open a four-game series.

-CSU-

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