CHARLESTON, S.C. – Wednesday afternoon, The Citadel baseball team avenged a loss to Richmond earlier in the season with a 5-2 victory over the Spiders at Joe Riley Park behind eight hits and solid outings on the mound from the Bulldog pitchers.
“I’m very proud of our guys, especially Thomas (Byelick), who gave us a great start on the mound,” said head coach Tony Skole. “About a month ago, (Richmond) came in here and put a thumpin’ on us, and I remember talking to our guys after the game saying we’d need to remember that game because it would be a good test when they come back. This was a great revenge win for us and I think it showed some growth in our team and our players. We still have a long way to go, but when we pitch well and play good defense like we did today, we’ll always have a chance to win.”
The Bulldogs (8-8) fell behind early as the Spiders (8-8) plated a pair of runs in the top of the second off two hits. Despite the early deficit, the Bulldog pitchers and defense would go on to hold the Spiders scoreless over the final eight frames while holding Richmond’s batters to just two more hits and only three total walks.
After the Bulldogs sat the Spiders down in order in the top of the second, Bryce Leasure led off for The Citadel with a double to center field. Three batters later, Ryan McCarthy drove Leasure home with a single to right field to cut into the lead.
Two innings later, Jonathan Sabo drew a leadoff walk before advancing to second off a single by Leasure. Sabo was able to tag up and advance to third on a fly out to center field by Taylor Cothran before Ben Peden sent a sacrifice fly to left-center field to score Sabo and tie the game.
With a new ballgame on their hands, the Bulldog offense continued to work over the Richmond pitching staff, and in the bottom of the seventh, The Citadel took a 4-2 lead off two walks, a J.D. Davis double and a timely Richmond error.
McCarthy started the drive off by drawing a four-pitch walk before Davis moved him around to third with a double to left field. After Clay Martin drew his own four-pitch walk to load the bases, William Kinney sent a grounder to second base. The Richmond second baseman cleanly fielded the ball, but missed the throw to second, allowing Martin to reach the bag safely. In the process, McCarthy raced home from third and Davis rounded third as the Richmond shortstop attempted to regain control of the ball.
In the next inning, Davis added to the Bulldog lead with a triple to left field that scored Cothran from second who had led off the inning with a single through the left side. Cothran stole second during Peden’s at-bat to set up the final score of the game.
Both Leasure and Davis ended the game 2-for-4 at the plate and one run scored. Richmond’s Daniel Brumbaugh also went 2-for-4 on the day with a run scored.
Thomas Byelick started on the mound for the Bulldogs and gave Skole and company 5.2 solid innings of work, including seven strikeouts compared to just two earned runs and three walks. Will Pillsbury came on for the final out of the sixth inning with Kyle Smith (W, 2-0) pitching the seventh to earn the win. Jordan Buster (S, 1) earned his first save of the season as he tossed the last two scoreless innings and recorded four strikeouts compared to giving up just one hit.
Foster Roy (L, 0-2) was saddled with the loss for the Spiders as he went 2.2 innings while giving up two runs, three walks and two hits compared to just two strikeouts. Collin Lowe started the game on the bump for Richmond and pitched the first 3.1 frames, giving up two earned runs, four hits and a walk.
The Citadel will next host Indiana State for a three-game series at Joe Riley Park this weekend. Action begins on Friday, March 17 at 6 p.m. Saturday’s game will begin at 2 p.m. and Sunday’s series finale will feature a 1 p.m. first pitch.
For more information on The Citadel baseball team, please follow @CitadelBaseball and @CitadelSports on Twitter or visit CitadelSports.com.