Mar 14, 2015
ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Andrew Widell was 4-for-4 with three RBI and Andrew Tomasovich pitched six scoreless innings as Charleston Southern opened Big South play with a 10-0 shutout of UNC Asheville on Saturday afternoon.
CSU improves to 9-6 overall and starts 1-0 in Big South play, while Asheville falls to 8-9 and 0-1 in conference play.
Bucs' head coach Stuart Lake could not have asked for a more complete opening to conference play from squad.
"With it being spring break and getting delayed, our guys we're really in the mindset of 'let's get going," Lake said. "They came out ready to play. It didn't feel like a 10-0 game, but Andrew was so solid. He got out of some tough spots with runners on and gave us a good start to conference play."
CSU outhit Asheville, 14-4, led by Widell's four-hit day and senior Chase Shelton matched his season-high with three hits as the middle of the order gave the Bucs' junior starter all the offense he needed.
"Widell was just tremendous," Lake said. "He doesn't waste at-bats and when we get on in front of him, he's hard to pitch around. It was good to see Shelton have a big day. He's such a positive guy and guys feed off him, when he gets it going, others follow his lead."
Tomasovich (WP, 4-1) struck out five and scattered four hits to setup CSU's third shutout of the season, all of which he has started. Relievers Dylan Lee and Cody Smith combined to work the final three innings to preserve the shutout.
"You really can't on him to give us this every week, but he's such a special player," Lake said of his starter. "When he starts, you just want to play good defense and hit a little bit, because you know he is going to give you a chance to win. We were struggling to get going offensively, and in the third inning, I told our guys 'we're in good shape, take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy playing behind (Tomasovich)."
Three big innings provided all the offense Tomasovich and company needed.
The Bucs jumped to a 2-0 lead in the fourth with a trio of singles from the middle of their lineup. Widell singled and moved up on a base hit from Cole Murphy. The pair would score the Bucs' first runs on an RBI single by Shelton and a wild pitch from Asheville starter Corey Randall (LP, 1-3).
Widell and Shelton added to their big days in the sixth as CSU pushed the lead to 5-0. Widell doubled to centerfield to push home Brandon Burris and Shelton followed with an RBI single to plate Widell. Sam Knight also had an RBI single in the inning as the Bucs gave Tomasovich some cushion.
Widell continued his assault with a two-run double to fuel the Bucs in a five-run eighth inning. Nate Blanchard added a two-run single in the frame as CSU extended their lead to 10-0. Four hits, including a double from Shelton, his third hit of the day, helped the Bucs break the game wide open.
The Bucs were 10-of-20 with runners in scoring position.
Asheville was 0-of-6 with runners in scoring position and its leadoff batter reached only twice in the game.
The series resumes on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Greenwood Field.