CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern Head Coach Stuart Lake will remember his 76th Big South win. Not necessarily because of it made him Charleston Southern's career Big South wins leader, but because of it was one of his "strangest" games he's coached at CSU.
The Buccaneers scored eight runs in the fifth inning and nine runs in the seventh to rally from a five-run deficit and blow by Campbell on Friday afternoon at CSU Ballpark, 18-7.
CSU had seven consecutive two-out hits in the fifth to rally from what was a 6-1 deficit at the time. Senior Kevin Hickey's pinch-hit grand slam added to the fireworks in the seventh as CSU ties the most runs it has scored in a Big South game since 2009.
"I'm proud of our guys," Lake said following the Bucs' first Big South win. "We battled through, really, a frustrating game-and-a-half (in the series) and then it seemed like the floodgates opened halfway through this one."
The Bucs were 1-for-16 with runners in scoring position in a one-run loss on Friday night. They made up for it with 10 hits and a season-high 18 runs on Friday.
The eight runs in the fifth were the most CSU has scored in an inning this season. Doing it twice in one game left Lake astonished.
"I don't know how many times I remember us scoring eight runs in an inning in a conference game, but it hasn't been many," Lake said of CSU's scoring outbursts. "I'm certain we've not had a game with two innings like that. It was really strange the way this game – and I hope this weekend – turned around."
Lake, who is in his eighth season at CSU, passed Gary Murphy as CSU's all-time Big South wins leader. Murphy also coached the Bucs for eight seasons. Lake needs 15 wins to become the overall wins leader.
"Anytime you have an accomplishment like this, you remember the players and the people who have been a part of making this into a successful program," Lake said of the wins record. "As a coach, you really don't get hung up on the records though. Before the game ends, you start thinking about tomorrow and what we need to do to win the series."
Five Bucs had a multi-hit game led by a season-high four hits for shortstop Cole Murphy. The senior ended a slow month with two hits and scoring twice in the fifth alone. He finished 4-for-5 with four RBI and three runs.
The Bucs outhit Campbell, 18-15.
The exclamation point came in the seventh off the bat of Hickey. The Bucs loaded the bases as reliever Tyson Messer struggled with five walks in two innings. Hickey ripped a fastball into the trees in left center to clear the bases and cap the scoring for CSU.
Campbell looked like it was headed to the series win early.
Thursday night's hero Ben Calvano delivered again in the first for Campbell. His two-out, bases-loaded double off of CSU starter Jon Piriz gave the Camels an early 3-0 lead. A pair of singles and a hit-by-pitch filled the bases for CU with one out.
The Camels added to their lead in the third with back-to-back doubles into the left field corner. Matt Parrish and Zach Minnick both came through with RBI doubles to push the lead out to 5-0.
The Bucs would get a run back in the third. Cole German yanked a pitch from Campbell starter Nick Thayer (L, 4-2) inside the bag at first for a triple, sending home Mike Sconzo with the Bucs' first run.
CSU began to pile up hits in the fifth, piecing together seven singles to climb back in it. Nate Blanchard's RBI single scored Cole Murphy who led off with single to center. Cole German's RBI ground out plated Mike Sconzo who reached with his second single of the game. Seven straight two-out singles would give the Bucs the lead, 9-6.
CU's Matt Parrish was 3-for-3 and scored twice. First baseman Jimmy Monaghan added a 3-for-5 afternoon.
Saturday's series finale is scheduled for 2 p.m. at CSU Ballpark.