CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern will try to shake off a stretch of four tough games against nationally-ranked opponents this weekend and get back on track as the Buccaneers welcome George Washington to CSU Ballpark. The three-game series opens on Friday afternoon with a 4 p.m. first pitch in the doubleheader.
SCHEDULE CHANGE: Friday is now a doubleheader at 4 p.m. with the final game of the series TBA, but expected to be played Sunday. Heavy rains are expected in Charleston on Saturday. Check csusports.com and follow @csusports on Twitter for real-time information.
CSU will hope its starting pitching, which stood up well against South Carolina and College of Charleston over the last week, can get the Buccaneers some momentum and back above .500 heading into their Big South Conference opener next weekend against Campbell.
Only eight of the 20 runs CSU allowed over their last four games were earned, leaving the Bucs second in the Big South with a team ERA at 3.26 against maybe the toughest schedule in the conference to-date.
Friday night starter Evan Raynor (1.38 ERA) and Sunday starter Jon Piriz (2.29 ERA) have two of the five best ERAs in the Big South among weekend starters. The bullpen has been almost equally as solid. Sophomore Cody Smith has five scoreless appearances and closer Chayce Hubbard has four. Both are averaging over 14 strikeouts per nine innings pitched early in the year.
George Washington has won four of its last six with a 6-1 win over Yale on Wednesday afternoon. The Colonels boast a strong weekend rotation, much like the Bucs, with a combined record of 5-0. Friday starter RHP Bobby LeWarne was 8-6 last season (2-0 in '16), getting the decision in all 14 of his starts.
PROBABLE PITCHING ROTATION
CSU (8-9) vs. George Washington (7-10)
Friday, 4 p.m. – RHP Evan Raynor (3-1, 1.38 ERA) vs. RHP Bobby LeWarne (2-0, 4.05 ERA)
Friday, 7 p.m. - LHP Daniel Johnson (2-2, 4.94) vs. LHP Shane Sweeney (1-0, 3.38 ERA)
Sunday, 2 p.m. – RHP Jon Piriz (0-2, 2.29 ERA) vs. RHP Jacob Williams (2-0, 3.21 ERA)
BREAKING OUT: Mason McClellan has been a bright spot offensively for the Bucs over the last week and is starting to take the reins of the DH spot. He is 8-for-18 this season (.444) with a pair of doubles and three RBI. He had two hits on Wednesday at CofC. Sophomore Chris Singleton has seen his average climb to .400 and leads the Bucs in hits (24), doubles (4), and RBI (15).
HOME SWEET HOME: CSU is 3-0 at CSU Ballpark this season and will get a chance to get comfortable on its home field in the coming week despite a shuffled schedule to open the season. The Bucs play 10 of their next 12 games at home, including opening Big South Conference play with series against Campbell (March 24-26) and Longwood (April 1-3).