Charleston Southern scored four unearned runs in the ninth to rally past Georgia 5-4 Monday at CSU Ballpark.
The Buccaneers (6-7) outburst was capped by a bases-loaded hit by pitch that provided the margin of victory as the Bulldogs dropped to 7-5. Georgia carried a 4-0 lead to the eighth inning, but a combination of errors and walks by the Bulldogs coupled with timely hitting by CSU ignited the comeback.
The Bulldogs took a 2-0 lead in the second. Junior Michael Curry led off with a base hit and sophomore Aaron Schunk was hit by a pitch. Freshman Ivan Johnson put down his first career sacrifice bunt to move both into scoring position. Then, junior Adam Sasser lined a two-run single up the middle for the early advantage. In the fifth, freshman C.J. Smith led off with a walk and eventually scored on a groundout by sophomore Cam Shepherd to make it 3-0. Sasser made it a three-RBI night when he blasted his first home run of the year with two outs in the sixth.
Sophomore Tim Elliott started for the Bulldogs and went 3.2 innings before senior Blake Cairnes came on with two on and two out and got Georgia out of the jam. He provided 3.1 scoreless innings and then Zac Kristofak took care of the eighth but not before the Bucs managed to push across their first run, which was also unearned. In the eighth, the Bucs loaded the bases to start the frame on a pair of hits and a Bulldog miscue. However, Kristofak limited the damage to just one run via a sacrifice fly to protect the lead.
In the bottom of the ninth, Georgia sophomore Will Proctor came on and the first batter reached on an error by Johnson, one of four by the Bulldogs on the night. Then, the Bucs got to the top of the order and Kyle Vesnesky reached on a base hit. Proctor came back to strike out Derek Horton for the first out. Mike Sconzo made it 4-2 with an RBI-single. Pinch-runner Adam Andrew looked to be picked off but stayed in a rundown and ultimately made it safely to second base. Cleanup hitter Jason Miller worked a walk to load the bases. At that point,
Georgia turned to Adam Goodman. He got Aaron Miller to bounce into a fielder’s choice as the Bulldog registered the second out but Vesnesky scored to make it 4-3. After pinch-hitter Ryan Stoudemire drew a walk to load the bases, Ryan Rizk tied the game with an RBI-single. Then Goodman hit Cole German with a pitch, allowing the winning run to score as Georgia dropped its fourth straight on this Charleston trip. Cody Smith pitched two scoreless innings for the win while Proctor dropped to 2-2.
-Junior Adam Sasser (2-for-4, 3 RBI) gave Georgia a 2-0 lead with a two-run single in the second inning and then made it 4-0 in the sixth with his first home run of the year, a solo shot for his third RBI, tying his career high.
-Sophomore Aaron Schunk (2-for-3) extended his hitting streak to seven games with a leadoff single in the fourth inning.
The Bulldogs conclude their five-game trip in Charleston against The Citadel on Tuesday at 4 p.m.