CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern piled up 14 hits and junior Andrew Tomasovich struck out 11 to pick up his fifth win as the Buccaneers topped Gardner-Webb, 8-5, on Friday night at CSU Ballpark.
CSU improves to 14-18 overall and 4-6 in Big South play, while Gardner-Webb falls to 17-17 and 5-8.
The Bucs' 14 hits were their most this season in Big South play and Tomasovich (W, 5-3) controlled the late innings, settling down after a choppy start. He struck out the side in the sixth and two more in the seventh after giving up four runs – two unearned – in the first three innings.
"I'm proud of our guys," CSU head coach Stuart Lake said. "They came out and kind of punched us right in the mouth. Andrew got back into the game and really had it going in the late innings. This is a good team and I told our guys before the game, Gardner-Webb is a good team and will fight us every out."
The Runnin' Bulldogs did just that. CSU seized control with an 8-4 lead heading into the ninth, but reliever Denis Buckley had to come out with no outs and the bases loaded to pick up his second save of the season. He retired all three batters he faced to get the Bucs out of the jam.
Tomasovich and the Bucs' bullpen had the offense to thank for the lead. Chase Shelton was 3-for-4 and had an RBI single during the three-run fifth. Cole Murphy was 3-for-3 with an RBI and scored twice. Brian Dye added a two-run triple in the second as CSU rallied from an early 2-0 deficit.
"We finally swung the bat aggressively," Lake said. "It helps when you get the leadoff runner on, but I felt like we attacked. This is going to be one of those weekends we're really going to have to compete, because they're going to make it very tough on us."
Starter Erik Heiligenstadt (L, 3-3) took the loss for GWU. He worked five innings and allowed seven runs on 11 hits. Jacob Walker hit a solo home run for the Runnin' Bulldogs.
CSU trailed 4-3 in the fifth when an RBI double from Chris Singleton and back-to-back RBI single from Shelton and Murphy broke the game open.
Game two in the series is Saturday at 4 p.m. CSU will wear throwback uniforms from its Baptist College days in the game.