CHARLESTON, S.C. - Wil Hartsell and the Charleston Southern bullpen shut down the Radford offense over the final five innings as the Buccaneers clinched the series win over the Highlanders on Saturday afternoon at the CSU Ballpark, 3-2.
Hartsell (2-5) gave up a leadoff single in the top of the fifth before retiring 11 straight in a dominant relief appearance on the rubber for CSU. The junior right-hander struck out the side in the sixth inning on his way to posting five strikeouts on the game before turning the ball over to Eddie Hiott and Ryan Stoudemire (S, 2) in the ninth.
The Bucs (19-20, 8-9) were paced by a strong start on the mound by redshirt sophomore Tyler Weekley in the no decision. Weekley required only 11 pitches to get through the first two innings on his way to going the first four innings. He finished the game allowing four hits and two runs (one earned) while striking out four in the start.
Nate Blanchard paced the Bucs offensively with his team-leading seventh home run of the season in the bottom of the fifth to give CSU the lead for good against Radford (16-22, 6-8) starter Danny Hrbek (2-4).
Hrbek went 5.1 innings, allowing seven hits and three runs while striking out four in the loss. Austin Gerber went the final 2.2 innings in relief allowing just a walk issued to Alex Andronica over the final three frames to give RU a chance late.
The Bucs took the early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second as CSU strung together a trio of singles around a RU error. Chris Singleton and Mike Sconzo connected on back-to-back singles to put two on with one out in the frame. Kyle Vesnesky reached on a fielding error by the RU third baseman allowing Singleton to score on the plate for the first CSU run. Cole German followed with a base hit through the right side of the infield scoring Sconzo.
Weekley shut down the Highlanders in the top of the third as the right-hander escaped a bases-loaded jam in the frame by striking out Hrbek to keep RU off the board.
Radford tied the game up, 2-2, in the top of the fourth. Jonathan Gonzalez led off the frame with a solo home run down the left field line. Spencer Horwitz reached on a CSU error and advanced to third on the hit-and-run single off the bat of Matt Roth. Richard De la Cruz's sacrifice fly to centerfield was deep enough to score Horwitz and even the score.
Blanchard swung the advantage back in CSU's favor with a one-out solo home run over the fence in right center to give the Bucs the 3-2 lead.
The pitching staffs took over from there as the Bucs turned a double play to end the fifth inning as Hartsell began his streak of 11 batters retired in a row. Gerber matched him for the Highlanders retiring the final seven CSU batters of the contest.
The Highlanders attempted to mount a comeback in the top of the ninth following a leadoff walk issued to Horwitz. However, Stoudemire stepped off the mound and got the lead runner at second on a RU sacrifice bunt attempt, and then set down the next two batters on strikes to close out the contest for his second save of the season.
Charleston Southern goes for the series sweep tomorrow afternoon against the visiting Highlanders at the CSU Ballpark. First pitch was moved to 1 p.m. due to the threat of inclement weather in the Lowcountry on Sunday afternoon.
Neither team has declared a starter for Sunday afternoon's game at the Ballpark.