CHARLESTON, S.C. – Chase Shelton broke a tie game with an RBI single in the eighth inning and Austin Weekley picked up his second save in as many days as Charleston Southern outlasted Penn State, 7-5, on Saturday evening at CSU Ballpark.
The Bucs (7-4) picked up their second win over the Nittany Lions in the series and will go for the sweep on Sunday. Penn State falls to 0-8. The series finale is at 2 p.m. tomorrow.
Shelton's go-ahead single with two outs in the eighth tipped off the outstretched glove of PSU shortstop Jim Haley and rolled into centerfield to give the Buccaneers a 6-5 lead as Ryan Maxsim raced home.
Weekley came on to shut the door in the ninth, striking out two and pitching through a dropped pop-up – and would-be third out - to get his third save of the season. Setup man Chayce Hubbard struck out the side in the eighth to limit any opportunities late for Penn State. Five CSU pitchers combined for 13 strikeouts.
The Bucs put four runners on in their final two at-bats, while record five strikeouts in their final six to close the game. CSU head coach Stuart Lake liked the chances his team gave itself down the stretch.
"The biggest thing we talked about was giving ourselves opportunities," Lake said after the win. "Chase was out here early today working and it paid off with the big single late. We finished strong and really performed well with the game on the line late."
The Bucs claim the series with tonight's win and are trying to build momentum into next week's Big South opening series at Asheville.
"We talked about it as soon as the South Carolina game ended (Tuesday)," Lake said. "Let's get on a roll' and give ourselves a chance to start conference play fast, especially with our first two weekends on the road."
The Bucs built an early lead behind their team speed.
CSU took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second on a two-out double by Cole Murphy. The junior lifted a fly ball off the base of the wall in right to bring around Chase Shelton, who reached on a one-out single.
Penn State answered back with its first run of the series in the third to tie the game at 1-1. Aaron Novak doubled to right center off of Bucs' starter Evan Raynor to leadoff the inning, later scoring on an RBI single from Jim Haley to knot it up.
The Bucs reclaimed the lead in the ensuing at-bat. The Bucs loaded the bases on a four-pitch walk to Blanchard and back-to-back bunt singles by Brandon Burris and Sly Edwards. DH Andrew Widell would draw an RBI walk and Shelton would add an RBI groundout to push the lead to 3-1.
A pair of two out hits by PSU tied the game in the sixth. Ryan Richter delivered an RBI doubled to knot the game at 4-4 in the sixth.
Burris had a career-high four hits and scored twice, while Shelton added a 2-for-4 night with two RBI, scoring once.
Starter Evan Raynor had a career high eight strikeouts, but allowed four earned runs and did not factor into the decision.
Haley and Novak had two hits apiece for PSU. Reliever Jack Anderson (0-1) took the loss for the Lions.