CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern took both ends of the doubleheader on Saturday afternoon as the Buccaneers topped Hofstra in the opener, 9-3, and followed up with a dominant pitching performance by Cody Maw in taking game two, 4-1.
Brandon Gragilla and Chris Singleton combined to drive in seven RBI in the first game of the doubleheader to pace a Buccaneers' offense in support of a strong pitching performance by Nik Constantakos. Maw (1-0) went 7.2 innings in the second contest, retiring 13 in a row at one point, in his first start of the season.
Game One: Charleston Southern 9, Hofstra 3
Charleston Southern utilized a career-high four RBI from Brandon Gragilla in support of strong pitching from Nik Constantakos and Ryan Stoudemire as the Buccaneers took the first game of the doubleheader on Saturday afternoon at the CSU Ballpark.
Gragilla went 3-for-5 from the plate with four RBI, including two on a two-out single in the bottom of the eighth to pace the Bucs' offense on the afternoon. Chris Singleton added three RBI including two on a third-inning double as the Buccaneers took control of the game in the sixth inning in their first series-opening win of the 2017 season.
Constantakos went 5.1 innings in the no-decision. The freshman right-hander allowed six hits and three runs (two earned) before turning the ball over to Stoudemire with one out in the sixth. Stoudemire (2-0) went three innings in relief in picking up his second win of the season. The CSU freshman allowed two hits while striking out three in the contest. Taylor Cox retired the final two batters in his first action of the 2017 season.
John Rooney (1-2) suffered the loss for the Pride allowing five hits and four runs (two earned) in 5.2 innings in the loss. Andrew Mundy closed out the contest allowing five hits and five runs (two earned) while striking out three.
Hofstra plated two in the top of the third to take the early 2-0 lead. Sean Rausch opened the scoring with a RBI single driving in Mikey Riesner. Steven Foster added a RBI double two batters later bringing home Rausch.
Singleton responded for the Bucs in the bottom of the frame to even the score at 2-2. Cody Smith led off the inning with a walk and advanced to second on a Kyle Vesnesky single. Nate Blanchard sacrificed the duo into scoring position with a bunt down the third base line. Singleton followed with a double down the left field line on the 1-1 offering from Rooney to tie the game up at 2-2.
Riesner put the Pride back in the lead in the fourth with a RBI single to left field scoring Vito Friscia.
The Bucs took the lead for good in the sixth as Gragilla connected on his first triple of the season scoring Jason Miller. Three batters later, Cole German singled in Gragilla with a base hit over a leaping Riesner at shortstop to give CSU the 4-3 advantage.
Gragilla added to the CSU lead in the seventh with a two-out single through the right side scoring Blanchard.
Blanchard, Singleton, and Gragilla all drove in runs for the Bucs in the eighth to cap the CSU scoring on the night.
Stoudemire entered the game with one out, one on in the top of the seventh and retired the first two batters he faced on strikes to stymie the Hofstra offense. He allowed a two-out single in the top of the eighth and was lifted with one out in the ninth for Cox.
Cox allowed a two-out single and loaded the bases with a walk before getting Nick Bottari to fly out to right field to end the game.
Vesnesky added two hits and two runs scored for the CSU offense in the opening win.
Game Two: Charleston Southern 4, Hofstra 1
Cody Maw required 76 pitches to get through 7.2 innings as the Buccaneers' pitching staff won the dual in the middle game of the series against the visiting Pride, 4-1.
Maw (1-0) allowed four hits and one run while striking out five in his first start of the season. The redshirt sophomore left-hander retired 13 batters in a row at the end of the second inning until Friscia singled to lead off the seventh. He followed the base hit by retiring the next five hitters in order before being lifted after a two-out Foster single in the eighth.
Tyler Pickard retired the only batter he faced before turning the ball over to Cody Smith in the ninth. Smith (S, 4) recorded his Big South-leading fourth save of the season by retiring the side in order in the ninth with a pair of strikeouts against the final two batters to close out the CSU win.
Hofstra tagged Maw early with a one-out sacrifice fly off the bat of Rob Weissheier in taking the early 1-0 lead in the top of the second.
The Bucs cracked the scoreboard in the fourth with CSU taking advantage of a stretch of wildness by Hofstra starter Jorge Marrero (1-2). A pair of singles by Aaron Miller and Cole German and a walk issued to Jaret Bennett loaded the bases for Vesnesky. The junior shortstop worked a full count before taking ball four and bringing home Miller to even the score at 1-1.
CSU blew the game open in the seventh with the top of the order sparking the Bucs' offense. Blanchard was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and advantaged to third on Singleton's double to the left centerfield gap. Jason Miller brought in Blanchard with a one-out grounder to give CSU the 2-1 lead. Singleton came around to score two batters later on a throwing error by the Hofstra shortstop giving the Bucs' the 3-1 lead. Gragilla crossed the plate on a wild pitch later in the frame for the final margin.
Aaron Miller led the CSU offense with a 2-for-4 night from the plate and added a run scored in the game.
- Charleston Southern remains undefeated on Saturdays with the Buccaneers improving to 4-0 on the day in the 2017 season following the doubleheader sweep. CSU's only two losses on the season have both come on Friday nights at the Ballpark.
- Cody Maw recorded the longest outing of the season by a CSU pitcher with his 7.2 inning performance in the start in the evening game. He also currently possesses the longest relief outing for CSU on the year with a 5.0 inning relief appearance in CSU's season opener against Delaware State.
- CSU goes for the series sweep tomorrow afternoon against the Pride. It would be the Bucs' first series sweep since the UMass series in the 2016 season when the Bucs took all three contests against the Minutemen on March 5-6. Coincidentally, the first two games of that series were also a doubleheader played on March 5 at Joe Riley Park.
- Mike Sconzo singled in each game to keep his hitting streak alive on Saturday. The junior catcher has hit safely in each of the last six games for the longest streak of the season so far for the Buccaneers. Aaron Miller and Cole German have both hit safely in each of the last five games.
"It's not easy to win both ends of a doubleheader. We played well for 18 innings today which isn't easy to do a lot of times. I thought our guys stayed with it all day long. The focus and energy were up throughout the game and we came out swinging it when we needed to," – Interim Head Coach Adam Ward on CSU's doubleheader sweep over Hofstra.
"It was a really impressive outing from Cody. Throwing 76 pitches in 7.2 innings; you can't get much better than that. The guy was really efficient just filling up the zone and it was just a great job by him today," – Ward on Maw's first start of the 2017 season.
They Said It
"I was a little shaky at the start, but knowing my defense was behind me and the offense starting swinging the sticks a little bit, I knew that I need to keep pounding and get through the game. Being at home is always a great atmosphere with the fans here cheering. Getting that round of applause when you walk off the mound, that's always a great feeling," – Redshirt sophomore Cody Maw on recording the win in game two of Saturday's doubleheader.
Tomorrow's Probable Starters
Redshirt senior Kyle Dyson (0-0, 2.45) is projected to start for Charleston Southern. Hofstra is expected to start LHP Teddy Cillis (0-1, 2.00 ERA) in Sunday's series finale.
First pitch between CSU and Hofstra is set for 2 p.m. on Sunday at the Ballpark with the game to be streamed live via the Big South Network