By: CofC Sports Media
Chris Graham (Leland, N.C.) drove in two, Griffin McLarty (Buckner, Ky.) struck out nine, and Nathan Ocker (Middletown, Pa.) worked out of a jam in the ninth to lead the College of Charleston baseball team to a 4-3 win over perennial national contender Dallas Baptist on Friday evening at Patriots Point.
The victory extends College of Charleston's (23-11) win streak to four games, and gives the Cougars an RPI-boosting win after Dallas Baptist (23-10) entered the week at No. 39 in the NCAA's RPI rankings. Charleston pushed across four runs on seven hits, and converted 4-of-6 (.667) opportunities with runners in scoring position. The Cougars held Dallas Baptist to three tallies on four base knocks, and struck out13 Patriots in the effort.
The Cougars accounted for all four of their runs – and five of their seven hits – in the fourth inning. Bradley Dixon (Greenwood, S.C.) and Dupree Hart(Rock Hill, S.C.) each plated one in the frame, while Graham delivered a two-run double to score Dixon and Harrison Hawkins (Bishopville, S.C.). Hart's RBI single with two outs would prove to be the game-winner. Danny Wondrack (Wall, N.J.) and Clay Hunt (Fort Mill, S.C.) each doubled in the contest.
McLarty ran his record to 6-2 with a solid outing, allowing two unearned runs on two hits while walking four and striking out nine over six innings. The junior right-hander has allowed only four runs – two earned – on 17 hits over his last five starts spanning 37 innings of work.
Josh Price (Dillion, S.C.) tossed one and two-third scoreless frames with one strikeout, before Ocker entered with a man on second and two out in the eighth. The senior closer forced a popup to second to end the frame, and then worked out of trouble in the ninth to earn his eighth save of the season, and 22nd of his career. The Patriots cut the lead to 4-3 with a solo homer in the ninth, and put the tying run on third with one out before Ocker shut the door with back-to-back strikeouts to close out the win.
Evan Sandmann delivered a solo homer in the ninth, and Bryce Ball went 2-for-4 to pace the Patriots. Augie Isaacson pushed a run across with a bunt single, as Jackson Glenn reached twice on two walks.
Jordan Martinson suffered his first loss of the season for the Patriots, allowing four runs on seven hits and striking out four over six and two-thirds innings. Kragen Kechely tossed one and one-third scoreless frames in relief.
Charleston and Dallas Baptist will meet in game two of the series on Saturday afternoon at 2:00 p.m.