CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern's Evan Raynor shook off a 90-minute rain delay to toss a complete game and lift the Buccaneers to a 3-1 win over Gardner-Webb on a throwback Saturday at CSU Ballpark.
CSU (15-18, 5-6 Big South) clinches the series over G-W (17-18, 5-9) with the win. The series finale is Sunday at 2 p.m.
Both pitchers overcame a rain delay in the second inning to control the game. Raynor (W, 4-3) fired his second complete game in Big South play. He surrendered just five hits and allowed his only run in the first inning, over three hours – counting the rain delay - before the game ended.
Fittingly, with CSU wearing throwback Baptist College uniforms, the dominant starting pitching reminded Bucs' head coach Stuart Lake of his college days.
"This looked like a college baseball game from the '90s, with both pitchers really in control and competing," Lake said. "It wasn't really fun to watch until it was over, because you're nervous as a coach, but those two (pitchers) were fun to watch. For Raynor, to not give up anything after the delay, that's just really tough to do."
The Bucs have put together three of their most complete efforts of the season in the last four days. Lake likes the direction his team is heading, but also knows to take some time to enjoy Saturday's win.
"I feel like we are (gaining confidence)," Lake added. "You know how confidence is. It can make you a different team, and we're feeding off of it right now. Today was a fun day. To have Dr. (Jairy) Hunter here to throw out the first pitch and to put the (throwback) uniforms on. It was cool for our guys to be a part of the history of CSU and to get a win tops it off."
Raynor was part of the story on Saturday, but Gardner-Webb starter Matt Fraudin (L, 4-3) matched the Bucs' starter out-for-out after the third inning. The Bulldogs' senior had 11 strikeouts and allowed only six hits, walking only one.
Trailing 1-0, CSU used its speed and some small ball to get the offense going in the third.
Brandon Burris reached on a bunt single, dancing just past the tag at first base to start the big inning for the Bucs. Nate Blanchard followed with a backside single and Sam Remick reached on an infield hit to load the bases. CSU scored its first run on a bases loaded walk by Andrew Widell and Chase Shelton gave the Bucs their first lead. Shelton scored Burris and Blanchard with a two-out, two-run single to left to give the Bucs a 3-1 lead.
Gardner-Webb grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first on Raynor, his only blemish of the day. Tyler Best singled to lead off the game, stole second, and raced home on an RBI by Ryan Hodge.
Shelton was 1-for-3 with the two RBI. He also had a very loud fly out in the sixth, pushing G-W centerfielder Henry Rundio to the warning track.
Hodge was 2-for-4 with an RBI to lead G-W.