Buccaneers face tough test with Big South road series at Longwood

Buccaneers face tough test with Big South road series at Longwood

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern opens Big South Conference play this weekend with a three-game series at Charles Buddy Bolding Stadium in Farmville, Va., as the Buccaneers take on host Longwood. First pitch in Friday's opener is set for 4 p.m. Saturday's middle game is set for 3 p.m., while Sunday's series finale is slated for a 2 p.m. first pitch.

Live stats for all three games will be available at LongwoodLancers.com. Live updates will be available on CSU's Game Day Twitter feed: @CSUGameDay

Probable Pitching Matchups
Friday: LHP Cody Maw (1-0, 3.86 ERA) vs. RHP Devin Gould (0-2, 6.19 ERA)
Saturday: RHP Nik Constantakos (1-0, 2.74 ERA) vs. RHP Cody Wager (2-2, 6.63 ERA)
Sunday: RHP Kyle Dyson (0-0, 3.65 ERA) vs. RHP Zach Potojecki (1-1, 3.18 ERA)

Leading Off

  • Charleston Southern is 10-4 after the first three weeks of play at home as the Buccaneers won series over Delaware State, VCU, and Hofstra. The Bucs also took their midweek contests against USC Upstate and Winthrop.
  • CSU is off to its best start since the 2014 season when the Bucs also started the season with a 13-3 record. CSU posted a 30-26 record overall in 2014 and posted a CSU school record for wins against Division I opponents on the year.
  • The road trip to Longwood continues a stretch of eight of nine away from the Ballpark as CSU remains on the road through March 22. The Bucs continue on the road next week against USC Upstate (Mar. 21) and South Carolina (Mar. 22) before returning home on March 24-26 with a three-game series against Liberty.
  • Overall, CSU will host 19 more games at the Ballpark with home series against Liberty, Gardner-Webb, Radford, Presbyterian and Air Force still to come.
  • Charleston Southern has opened Big South Conference play with a win in two of the last three seasons, but it's been three years since the Bucs won their conference-opening series. Last time came on March 14-16 at UNC Asheville when the Bucs took the first two games against the Bulldogs.
  • CSU continues its trend of struggling on Friday nights with the Bucs posting a 0-3 record on the final day of the work week in the 2017 season. The Bucs are 10-1 on all other days of the week including sporting a perfect 4-0 record in Saturday competition and a 2-0 record on Sundays.

About the Lancers
Longwood was picked fifth overall in the Big South Conference baseball preseason poll selected by the head coached announced ahead of the season. The Lancers received a first place vote and 61 points overall. Longwood is coming off of a season that saw the Lancers post a 32-27 overall record and 14-10 mark in conference play, as well as an impressive 21-7 record at home in Bolding Stadium.

Buccaneers against Longwood
Charleston Southern as a program has posted a 3-5 record all-time against Longwood. The Bucs were swept in all three contests at the CSU Ballpark last season from April 2-4, 2016. CSU took the middle of the three-game series in their last trip to Farmville, topping the Lancers, 5-2, on March 21, 2015, behind Evan Raynor's complete-game effort on the mound.

Last Out for Longwood
Longwood has dropped four of its past five outings with losses at USC Upstate, Wofford, and two of three last weekend at UNC Wilmington. The Lancers are coming off of an eight-game road trip that started with a series sweep over Savannah State on March 3-5. Longwood's Wednesday contest against St. Joseph's was canceled due to weather concerns in the Farmville, Va. area.

Scouting the Lancers
Michael Osinski leads the Lancers lineup in multiple categories including batting average (.348), runs (14), hits (24), home runs (2), and RBI (20). Justin Mitchell has also connected on a pair of four-baggers in the 2017 season and has posted a .310 batting average and a team-high 16 walks on the season. Sammy Miller has been the speed threat on the bases for LWU with seven steals on the season. On the mound, Zach Potojecki has been the ace for the Lancers with a 26:5 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a 3.18 ERA.

Dominant Pitching CSU to weekend sweep over Hofstra
Tyler Weekley turned in a strong start for the Buccaneers and the combination of Wil Hartsell, Eddie Hiott, and Cody Smith completed the job for Charleston Southern on Wednesday afternoon as CSU took the 4-2 win over Winthrop. Weekley went 5.1 innings in his first start of the season and was in control throughout the afternoon allowing six hits and two runs (one earned) while striking out five in the contest. Hartsell excelled in the relief outing with the junior retiring the first four batters he faced on strikes. Hiott also retired four in a row before turning the ball over to Smith who retired the Eagles in order to close out the contest.

Bucs in Big South Openers
The Buccaneers have won their Big South opener in two of the past three years. CSU's lone blemish during the span came last season in a 5-4 loss at home to Campbell on March 24.

Fireman of the Year
Cody Smith has already asserted himself as one of the top relievers in the Big South Conference over the first 14 games with the junior right-hander pacing the Buccaneers with five saves on the season. Smith has recorded 8.2 innings pitched on the season with a 16:4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in eight appearances.

Fridays are Unkind
Charleston Southern is currently winless in series openers in the 2017 season having dropped the opening games against both Delaware State and Virginia Commonwealth. The Buccaneers have rallied back to win the final two games in each of the series and improved to 8-4 overall in weekend series on the year. CSU looks to reverse that trend this weekend against Longwood in Big South Conference play.

Racking up the strikeouts
Twice this season the Buccaneers have had a reliever enter a game and retire the first four batters he faced on strikeouts. Eddie Hiott pitched the Bucs out of a bases-loaded jam against VCU with a pair of strikeouts in the fifth inning on February 26 and then retired the first two in the sixth on strikes. Wil Hartsell became the second Buccaneer to achieve the mark on Wednesday with the junior right-hander retired his first two batters in the sixth on strikes and the first two in the seventh in a successful hold.

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