CHARLESTON, S.C. - The Citadel took advantage of a pair of Charleston Southern errors in the top of the seventh and held off a late CSU rally as the Buccaneers fell to the visiting Bulldogs on Tuesday night at the CSU Ballpark, 8-6.
Brandon Gragilla and Cole German both homered for the Bucs (14-13) as CSU was unable to pick up the win in the Lowcountry rivalry against the Bulldogs (10-19). Jason Miller, Gragilla, and Chris Singleton all finished the night with two hits apiece for the Bucs.
Jamison Mobbs (0-1) suffered the loss for the Bucs in the inning after allowing all three batters he faced to get on base and score. Cody Maw turned in a dominant relief appearance scattering three hits while striking out six over 4.0 innings, while Cody Smith struck out the side in the eighth on his way to a two-inning scoreless appearance.
Jordan Buster (1-0) picked up the win in a relief appearance for the Bulldogs, allowing one run while striking out one in 0.2 innings' work. Aaron Lesiak (S, 2) picked up his second save of the season after going the final two innings in shutout relief. Alex Bialakis went 5.0 innings in the no-decision, allowing eight hits and four runs while striking out two.
The Citadel got on the board in the top of the first as Ben Peden connected on a two-out, two-run home run driving in Jonathan Sabo. Sabo reached in the inning on a walk two batters before Peden lifted the ball into wind over the ballpark and cleared the fence in right centerfield to give the Bulldogs the 2-0 lead.
The Bulldogs plated two more in the second as defensive miscommunication gave up a lead-off double to Bryce Leasure. He came around to score on Barrett Charpia's double down the left field line. Taylor Cothran came around to score later in the frame on a double play ball to give Citadel the 4-0 lead.
Mike Sconzo's hustle led to CSU's first run in the bottom of the second as the catcher's hustle broke up a potential inning-ending double play attempt. Kyle Vesnesky followed with a bloop single to right field and Tyler Kinney brought Sconzo home with a single through the right side to narrow the Bulldogs' lead to 4-1.
The Bucs pushed across their second run in the third inning as Aaron Miller scored on a wild pitch touching the plate just ahead of the tag from The Citadel's reliever to narrow the gap to 4-2.
Gragilla provided the big blow for the Bucs in the bottom of the fifth as the senior designated hitter connected on his third home run of the season to tie the game up at 4-4. Jason Miller connected on a one-out single back up the middle before Gragilla's shot cleared the fence in right centerfield to even the score.
German followed and put the Bucs in the lead in the bottom of the sixth with a one-out solo home run beyond the flag pole in straightaway centerfield. It was his team-leading fourth home run of the season and gave the Bucs their first lead of the game.
The Citadel retook the lead in the top of the seventh. The Bulldogs scored their first run courtesy of a CSU throwing error on Sabo's sacrifice bunt attempt allowing J.D. Davis to score on the play. William Kinney brought in Clay Martin on a sacrifice fly to put The Citadel ahead, 6-5. Leasure added an RBI single bringing home Sabo to give the Bulldogs the two-run cushion.
The Bulldogs plated an insurance run in the top of the ninth as Sabo scored on a fielding error by the CSU left fielder on Joe Sabatini's single giving The Citadel the 8-6 lead.
Chris Singleton connected on a two-out single back through the box in the bottom of the ninth before Lesiak set down the final CSU batter to close out the contest.
Cody Smith struck out the side for the second game in the 2017 season as the junior reliever retired all three Bulldogs he faced in the top of the eighth inning on strikes. The first time he recorded the feat was back on March 22 against South Carolina when he retired three in a row in the eight against the Gamecocks. It was the sixth time the Bucs pitchers have struck out the side in the 2017 season.
Brandon Gragilla's two-run home run gave the senior designated hitter his seventh multi-RBI game of the season to extend his lead in the category for the Bucs. Gragilla leads Nate Blanchard (5) in the category on the season.
Cody Maw extended his Big South lead in strikeouts looking as the left-hander retired four Bulldogs looking at strike three in the contest. Maw opened the week with 16 KLs and now sits with 20 following the contest against The Citadel.
Charleston Southern continues the 2017 season on the road tomorrow night as the Buccaneers make the trip to Rock Hill, S.C. for a rare non-conference game against Winthrop. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.