CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern was unable to hold off the hot bats of visiting Delaware State in Friday night's season opener as the Buccaneers fell to the Hornets at the CSU Ballpark, 9-2.
Alex Andronica connected on a two-run triple in the bottom of the second inning in his first collegiate at-bat to pace the CSU (0-1) offense, while Nate Blanchard and Chris Singleton both recorded multi-hit games in the Bucs' 2017 season opener.
Wil Hartsell (0-1) suffered the loss on the mound for the Bucs in his first collegiate start. The redshirt junior went four innings, allowing eight hits and eight runs (four earned) while striking out two. Cody Maw was dominant in relief for the Bucs, scattering five hits over the final five innings, while striking out four.
The Hornets' took advantage of seven extra base hits in the contest with Darnell Maisonet providing most of the damage with a 2-for-4 outing with four runs score. Austin Bentley added three hits, including a double, in the win.
Lane DeLeon (1-0) picked up the win after going 5.2 innings in allowing a pair of unearned runs in the win. Travis Dill went the final 3.1 innings scattering three hits while striking out four to record the save.
Maisonet put Delaware State on the board in the top of the first with a two-out solo home run over the right field fence. Back-to-back RBI doubles by Jaylen Zielecki and Tommy Jordan added to the Hornets' lead in the second as DSU built a 3-0 lead after their first two at-bats.
The Bucs responded in the bottom of the second with a two-out rally started by Cody Smith beating out an infield error. Brandon Gragilla followed with a walk to put two on before Andronica connected on a drive down the right field line clearing the bases. The freshman third baseman ended on third with a stand-up triple as Smith and Gragilla both crossed the plate to cut into the Hornets' lead.
Delaware State plated three more runs in the top of the third with Ciaran Devenney driving in the first with a RBI groundout to second. Todd Henry doubled in two more but was thrown out trying to take third on the play to end the rally.
Maw pitched the Bucs out of a jam in the top of the fifth with back-to-back strikeouts after the Hornets added a pair of runs on a Devenney single and CSU error.
Maw retired six in a row in the seventh and the eighth before the Hornets added their final run of the contest in the ninth on a Devin Beverly pinch-hit RBI single.
Blanchard recorded his third hit of the game in the bottom of the ninth to give CSU one final chance, but Dill recorded the final out on his way to closing out the save.
- CSU's four-game season-opening win streak ended Friday night against the Hornets. The Bucs had topped Eastern Kentucky (2013), Villanova (2014), Chicago State (2015), and West Virginia (2016) since their last season-opening loss to Georgetown
- Nate Blanchard recorded his first three-hit game of the season and the 46th multi-hit game of his career on Friday afternoon. It was the Loganville, Ga. native's 13th career three-hit game with the Bucs.
- Chris Singleton opened the season with a pair of singles for his 28th career multi-hit game. It was hit 20th two-hit game since the 2015 season.
- Alex Andronica's second-inning triple was CSU's first three-bagger since April 13, 2016, against Savannah State when Sly Edwards went for three in the eighth inning against the Tigers
Redshirt senior Kyle Dyson (1-2, 5.96 ERA) is projected to get the start for Charleston Southern tomorrow afternoon. Delaware State is projected to start sophomore Sean McGrath (4-6, 6.15 ERA).
First pitch between Charleston Southern and Delaware State in Saturday's game is set for 4 p.m. The Bucs and Hornets will close out the series on Sunday, February 19, at 2 p.m.
"It feels good to finally get a game under our belt. It's nice to play someone in a different uniform. We have a lot of freshmen and a lot of juco transfers on the roster, so it's good to get them out there and get their feet wet in a game environment. I told these guys one game doesn't make or break our season. We've got another game tomorrow; it's going to be a beautiful day, so we're looking forward to going out there and playing hard again." – Interim Head Coach Adam Ward on the season opener
"They both had tremendous days at the plate. If we can get that kind of production day-in and day-out from those guys we'll have a really good offense when all is said and done." - Coach Ward on Nate Blanchard and Chris Singleton's Friday night production