CHARLESTON, S.C. – Starter Evan Raynor took a shutout into the eighth inning and closer Chayce Hubbard struck out the final three batters to pitch Charleston Southern past Butler, 2-1, on Friday afternoon at Joe Riley Park.
Raynor (W, 2-0) struck out six, surrendering only a solo home run in the eighth, to get his second win in as many starts. Hubbard walked the leadoff man in the ninth, but struck out the next three batters he faced to pick up his second save of the season. On a cold, windy day where Joe Riley Park player even longer than it normally does, CSU played to its identity.
"(Raynor) was great again today," CSU head coach Stuart Lake said following the win. "We are who we are, there are no real tricks to it. We're going to get good starting pitching and you have to give it to Hubbard (for closing it out). We pitched really well."
The Bucs made a pair of third-inning runs stand up after grabbing an early 2-0 lead.
Chris Singleton and Cole Murphy had back-to-back RBI singles to plate CSU's only runs of the game. Leadoff singles by Nate Blanchard and Brandon Burris would jump start the offense in the third. Blanchard single off the leg of pitcher Jeff Schank and Burris laid down a perfect bunt to first, turning a sacrifice into a base hit ahead of Singleton and Murphy's RBIs.
Butler's Connor Dall cut the CSU lead in half in the eight. After the Bucs dropped a foul ball to extend the at-bat, Dall curled a home run inside the foul pole down the left field line to make it 2-1.
CSU had 10 hits, but extra-base hits with a stiff breeze blowing into an already big park made it tough to reach the gaps for two teams who hadn't played in almost a week.
"(The two coaches) talked and we haven't played any midweek games where you get at-bats for a full week," Lake added. "We've both had different issues with the weather. I'm kind of ready to get in a groove offensively."
Blanchard went 3-for-4 as the top six bats in the CSU lineup all hit safely. The Bucs left eight runners on base.
Schank (L, 0-2) scattered 10 hits and struck out three. Dall led Butler with a 1-for-3 day on his solo home run.
The Bucs and Bulldogs meet again on Saturday at 11 a.m. at Joe Riley Park.