College of Charleston scored first and then pulled away with four runs in the seventh and eighth innings to take a 7-4 victory at UNCW in the third game of the series.
The Cougars (32-15, 11-4) improved to 10-2 in the final games of series this year and kept pace with standings leader William & Mary who swept Towson. UNCW (23-23, 8-8) moved to .500 on the season.
Sunday starter Tyler Thornton (4-4) made his fifth quality start of the season and the Cougars’ 25th quality start as a staff. He pitched six innings, allowing just one earned run on five hits while striking out six batters. He is now 4-1 in six starts since earning his first career win at Jacksonville.
Eric Bauer and Chase Henry each pitched scoreless innings of relief, while Blake Ross made his first appearance since the Houston series and allowed two runs in the ninth inning.
UNCW’s Ryan Foster (1-3) was tagged with the loss after lasting just five innings and giving up three runs, two earned, on four hits. Six more relievers came out of the bullpen for UNCW as they combined for five hits and four runs allowed, walking five.
The College of Charleston lineup saw contributions from top to bottom beginning with leadoff batter Blake Butler. Butler roped a double to open the game and eventually scored. He also had an RBI base hit in the seventh inning.
Nick Pappas, Carl Wise and Ben Boykin all had hits while Ryan Welke knocked two singles and scored two runs. Morgan Phillips singled and scored and Brandon Glazer had two RBI groundouts.
Bradley Jones made a number of great plays in the field, including an outfield assist to throw a runner out at home in the first, while forcing an errant throw in the fourth inning on a hard-hit infield ball that kept the inning alive and allowed a run to score. Champ Rowland knocked an RBI and scored a run in the nine spot.
Joe Bertone led UNCW once again with two doubles and an RBI, but he was hurt on a play at the plate and eventually taken out of the game. Ryan LaGrange and Terence Connelly each had RBIs as well.
College of Charleston got its first lead of the series in the first inning with a leadoff double from Butler and RBI base hit from Pappas. UNCW responded with two runs on three hits and a CofC error in the bottom of the first to take a 2-1 lead.
The Cougars manufactured two runs in the fourth inning after a leadoff double from Boykin. After an infield single from Welke, Phillips sacrificed the runners to second and third. Glazer scored Boykin with an RBI groundout, and then Jones chopped a ball to third and raced down the line, forcing a throw in the dirt to keep the inning alive and score Welke for a 3-2 lead.
CofC added insurance for its bullpen with a two-out single from Rowland in the seventh inning. He reached second on a delayed steal and came home on a clutch RBI single from Butler. The Cougars kept it going with three runs in the eighth inning, using two errors, one passed ball and two walks along with two hits.
Although UNCW cut the lead to 7-4 with two runs in the ninth, Ross was able to close the door with a groundout to second.
The Cougars will play a midweek non-conference home game against USC-Upstate on Wednesday afternoon at 4 p.m., before traveling to Hofstra next weekend.