CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern scored eight runs over the first five innings on their way to an 8-6 Friday night win over Gardner-Webb to open the Big South weekend set from Nielsen Field at CSU Ballpark.
Junior southpaw Jaret Bennett collected his second win tossing 6.0 frames of three-run ball for another quality start while the CSU (13-24, 3-10 Big South) offense erupted for eight early runs to back Bennett's strong start.
Javon Martin collected his first three-hit game of the season and came just a triple shy of the cycle after blasting a two-run home run in the fifth for his second extra-base hit of the night and first longball as a Buccaneer. Martin's three-hit day highlighted a big offensive performance for the Bucs, who have scored 24 runs over their last two games and have outscored opponents by 15 in a pair of wins.
Max Ryerson also had a two-hit day driving in a team-high three runs in the win extending his team-leading RBI count to 26 on the season. Both Martin and Josh Litchfield scored twice while Payton Holdsworth and Jason Miller walked twice.
Gardner-Webb saw two-hit nights from Justin Kunz and Corey Howard and loaded the bases in the ninth with two outs, but freshman reliever RJ Petit slammed the door with a strikeout of the lone batter he faced for his third save.
How They Scored
- Just four pitches into the game, Gardner-Webb had one run on two hits but CSU starter Jaret Bennett settled in for three-straight outs to end the first in a 1-0 hole.
- The Bucs got their offense going early as well posting two runs on RBI singles from Max Ryerson and Reid Hardwick taking a 2-1 lead through one full inning.
- Gardner-Webb tied it with a solo shot in the second for a 2-2 score, but CSU had another answer taking a 3-2 lead on Holdsworth's sacrifice fly to deep right center.
- The Bulldogs tied it one more time in the fourth at 3-3, but a three-spot from CSU in the bottom half gave them the lead for good.
- In that fourth frame, the Bucs got and RBI double from Josh Litchfield before Ryerson collected his second run-producing single of the night scoring both Litchfield and Holdsworth.
- The lead got to 8-3 in the fifth on Martin's moonshot before Gardner-Webb chipped away with two in the seventh and one-more in the ninth leaving the tying run at second.
News and Notes
- Jaret Bennett tossed another quality start for the Bucs giving them two in as many games after Cody Maw's 7.0 innings at Longwood Sunday.
- Javon Martin's three-hit night was his first as a Buccaneer while he went deep for his first blast a Buccaneer in the fifth. His three-hit night made him the closest Buc to a cycle this season coming just a triple shy.
- Both Jason Miller and Payton Holdsworth extended their on-base and hit streaks Friday as Miller's eighth-inning single made it 16-straight with a knock and Holdsworth made it 14-straight reaching safely.
- Max Ryerson also made it seven-straight games reaching safely and has a hit in his last six while Javon Martin has reached safely in his last six appearances.
- The win makes it three-straight over the Runnin' Bulldogs dating back to last season and CSU has a chance for a Big South series win Saturday.
CSU and Gardner-Webb pick things back up Saturday afternoon for the second game slated for a 4 p.m. start on ESPN+ at CSU Ballpark.
What They're Saying
"They did an incredible job attacking early and they didn't let up. The offense made it a lot easier to throw and there wasn't much pressure, even when I give up a run I know they'll tack another one on for me." – Jaret Bennett on his run support Friday night.
"The third time through has really been my kryptonite here recently and I really figured it out tonight. I started locating a lot better – had a better feel and didn't miss over the white (of the plate) too much. They're a free-swinging team so they got themselves out." – Bennett on his outing getting stronger as the night went on.
"That's a great start to the weekend scoring that many runs. As long as we keep hitting like we are now I don't see us having any issues." – Bennett on the team's momentum after a Friday win.
"We're feeling pretty good, everybody throughout the lineup is starting to figure it out all at once. I feel like we're starting to play our best baseball right now." – Javon Martin on the offense over the past two games.
"I was thinking there was no way I was getting a fastball and got a mistake one on an 0-2 count. I just put a good swing on it." – Martin on his homerun.