Cougars rise to 7-2 in SoCon division

The Cougars were forced to suffer their first away game loss and one at home in this week’s mid-week games. The home loss came at the hands of UNC-Wilmington on Tuesday Mar 13th, with Griffin Jones (Shelby Township, MI) heading off the first five innings as the CofC pitcher.

For the first two innings, the game seemed evenly matched, with a sole hit Brandon Murray (Nassau, Bahamas) attempting to start the scoring. The top of the third saw the Seagulls take no prisoners as they essentially scored their eventual win. Two hits and three walks transferred into four runs for the team, as they secured their lead with 4-0 in the top of the third.

The Cougars attempted a valiant comeback when they came up to bat, with a single by Rob Harding (Columbia, SC) bringing in a walker and hit by pitch to put the team on the board. A fly out by Bradley Goodson (Jacksonville, FL) ended the scoring, leaving the score 4-2 as the teams advanced into the fourth inning.

The Cougars came closer to making a comeback in the fifth with a single by Dre Watts (Laurens, SC) driving in Harding to bring the score even closer to 4-3. However, UNC was quick to reciprocate this, as they drove the score up to 5-3. Over the course of the next two innings, the Cougars managed two hits and left three on base, but were ultimately unable to defeat the Seagulls as the visiting team went on to grab one more run in the eighth to finish off the scoring at 6-3.

Wednesday, Mar 14th game saw the Cougars come up against their age old rival Coast Carolina. Two years ago, a dramatic series of losses to the team in the NCAA Regionals kept the Cougars from advancing, and last year they managed to break an eight game winning streak by trampling over the College in a 12-3 win. This year, the team didn’t suffer quite so extreme a loss, though it was a loss nonetheless. Goodson’s sacrifice fly in the seventh was the only time the Cougars managed to get on the board, falling 5-1 to the Chanticleers.

After the rough week of losses, the team was ready to make a clean sweep of this weekend’s SoCon games. And they accomplished it with grandeur.

Wofford wasted no time getting on the board in Friday’s game. With Josh Renfro (Bradenton, FL) at the pitching helm, the Terriers managed two hits and one run in the top of the first. The Cougars responded quickly, with a double by Marty Gantt (North Augusta, SC) and a single by Harding driving in a runner a piece, making the score 2-1 going into the second.

Renfro was unforgiving after the first inning and allowed no chance at redemption in the second. The Cougars were able to gain an extra run unopposed as Goodson’s single brought the score up to 3-1. Renfro managed to keep the Terriers muzzled, allowing only two hits throughout the rest of the game. The College went on to finish the scoring in the eighth with a single by Cody Martin (Toccoa, GA) bringing in Daniel Aldrich (Mt. Pleasant, SC) and Gantt, making the score 5-1.

Head coach Montee Lee said of Renfro’s powerhouse pitching and the team, “I was really proud of how Josh (Renfro) responded after Wofford got that run so quickly…He pitched very well for the rest of the game and our defense did a great job behind him with no errors. Our offense was clutch tonight with some big hits in two-out situations. It was a very good conference victory.”

Despite this win, the team didn’t get cocky, and came out on Saturday with an even fiercer game against the terriers. Matt Pegler (Greenville, SC) took the helm on this game and continued to do the Cougars proud as he allowed Wofford only one run across the game.

The match up remained quite with neither side making a run until the Cougars took the lead in the third thanks to a two run homer from Goodson. The team expanded on this lead with a single from Ryan Welke (Tallahassee, FL) and a double from Gunnar Heidt (Garden City, SC) bringing up the score to 4-0 in the top of the fourth. Despite this comfortable lead, the team didn’t stop there, with yet another homer, this time to Gantt, bringing in two runs to the Cougars, raising their lead to 6-0. The terriers sole run came in the seventh, but even this was quickly reciprocated by the Cougars as they managed two more runs in the seventh, finishing out the scoring 8-1.

The Cougars successfully completed their sweep of Wofford during Sunday’s game. The first inning remained silent on both sides, though the bottom of the second saw the Cougars make their move, with a single by Heidt bringing in two runners.

The Terriers, spurred on by their two consecutive losses on Friday and Saturday, made a surprising comeback in the third, managing three runs on four hits. The game was then halted due to lightening, and for four hours and 42 minutes, Wofford remained in the lead. The Cougars came back on to the field hoping to even the score though, tying up the game 3-3 thanks to a double from Aldrich in the bottom of the third. Wofford managed to reclaim their lead in the top of the sixth, bringing the score 4-3.

But that’s when Cougar magic happened. A home run by Glazer brought in three runs and a solo home run by Gantt immediately following brought the score up to 7-4. The third homer of the night in the eighth by Tyler Jackson (Bishopville, SC) added an insurance run and finished the scoring at 8-4.

Lee said of the game “I told our guys how important it was to come out of the delay with energy, especially since we were behind…I was pleased that we did just that and tied the game immediately. Brandon Glazer was the player of the game for his pinch-hit home run and our bullpen came in and did a great job.”

The Cougars are now 15-5 overall and 7-2 in the SoCon conference. The team faced off against UNC Wilmington and Charleston Southern away during the midweek, but will be home for their three game series against SoCon rival Davidson, starting Friday at 6pm.

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