CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern's bullpen retired 11 straight batters to help the Buccaneers rally from a one-run deficit for a 7-3 win over Butler on Saturday afternoon at Joe Riley Park.
CSU (3-2) trailed 3-2 in the fifth, but reliever Cody Smith came on to retire all nine batters he faced and Alex Ministeri sat down the first two Bulldogs in the ninth to give CSU its second win in the series in as many games.
"I thought we really did get a good start by (Daniel Johnson), but Cody (Smith) was dominant," CSU head coach Stuart Lake admitted following the win. "I was proud too of our offense. We got down by a run and came right back in the bottom half (of the fifth) to retake the lead."
Johnson (W, 1-1) picked up his first career win, working five innings, striking out four and giving up three earned runs. The sophomore got some run support as well. The Bucs scored in five different innings.
Cole Murphy had a one-out double deep into the gap to tie the game at 3-3 in the fifth after Butler had put three runs up in the top of the inning. CSU would keep piecing runs together.
DH Jack Crittenberger would score in his next two at-bats. Sly Edwards had an RBI triple in the sixth and Bryan Dye added an RBI single as the Bucs pulled away. Murphy's double in the fifth seemed to jump start the Bucs' offense and silenced Butler's momentum.
"I thought that took the wind out of their sails," Lake said. "(Crittenberger) spent a lot of time on base and caused some problems, scored a few runs. Our offense will get going. It's still not above 70 yet, so it's still a little hard to hit."
Butler's Drew Small and Chris Marras had RBI doubles as the Bulldogs scored three runs in the fifth.
CSU took a 1-0 lead in the first, loading the bases without a hit. A pair of walks and a hit-by-pitch set the table for a sacrifice fly from Chris Singleton to score Nate Blanchard with the game's first run.
Blanchard, Edwards, and Dye all had two hits for the Bucs.
Starter Danny Pobereyko (L, 0-2) worked 4.1 and gave up four earned runs. DH Cole Mallory led
Butler with two hits and scored a run.
The Bucs and Bulldogs meet in the series finale on Sunday at 10 a.m. at Joe Riley Park.