ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Evan Raynor pitched six scoreless innings and Charleston Southern scored four runs in the first inning to handle UNC Asheville, 7-2, on Sunday afternoon at Greenwood Field.
The win moves CSU to 10-6 on the year and 2-0 in Big South play, while Asheville falls to 8-10 overall and 0-2 in league play. The series finale is Monday at 3 p.m.
Raynor (1-1) had a career-high eight strikeouts in his longest appearance as a Buc. He worked six innings and did not allow an earned run, walking only two. The defense turned double plays behind him in each of his final two innings as CSU took a 7-0 lead into the 7th. With five games in five days, CSU head coach Stuart Lake was happy to get the win, but thrilled with the way Raynor set up the Bucs' staff for a busy week.
"What Raynor did was outstanding for two reasons," Lake said. "It put us in position to win and then got us to our bullpen late, so we're fresh down there with still games the next three days. Jon (Piriz) closing it out will be big for us the next few days."
The Bucs jumped on – and took advantage of an erratic start by Asheville's Lucas Clarke – to seize early momentum. Clarke issued five walks and hit Sam Remick as CSU scored four times and batted around in the first. Cole Murphy had an RBI single and Robbie Streett added a sacrifice fly as the Bucs took the early lead.
"(Clarke) came in with a low ERA, I think below two," Lake said. "We didn't expect the control issues, but our guys were patient and took what was there. It seemed like there weren't enough strikes early to get in a groove offensively and give Asheville credit, they hung in after a rough start."
Streett and Nate Blanchard added doubles in the third to push the lead to 6-0. Blanchard's two-run shot to the opposite field short-hopped the fence and drove home Streett and Remick to put the Bulldogs in a hole.
Murphy led the Bucs with a 2-for-3 day with an RBI and a run scored. Remick added a pair of singles and a run.
First baseman Hunter Bryant was 3-for-4 and Justin Woods added two hits. Asheville outhit CSU, 11-7, but the Bucs drew nine walks.
The series finale is Monday at 3 p.m.