College of Charleston baseball bests No. 1 seed in SoCon tourney

The College of Charleston baseball team is abuzz after a 4-3 win over No. 1 seed Elon University in the 2011 Southern Conference Baseball Championship in Charleston.

The win eliminates Elon and moves the Cougars into a 7 p.m. showdown on Friday, May 27, against Western Carolina — who lost to Georgia Southern 12-1 last night. 

If you'd like to go to tonight's game, tickets may still be available for $10. (843) 953-3647. The championship is Sunday, May 29, at 2 p.m.

A press release from the night's game is below, and you can get the box score over here. The Post and Courier has a solid write-up as well.

Senior CF Cole Rakar (Mt. Pleasant) scored the winning run on a throwing error by Elon RF Niko Fraser in the bottom of the eighth inning as the No. 5 seed College of Charleston defeated No. 1 seed Elon University 4-3 Thursday evening in an elimination game of the 2011 Southern Conference Baseball Championship. The win moves the Cougars into a 7:00 p.m. showdown Friday evening against the loser of tonight’s game between Georgia Southern and Western Carolina.

Charleston opened the scoring with a single run in the bottom of the first. Junior 1B Marty Gantt (N. Augusta, S.C.) led off the frame by getting hit by a 1-1 pitch and proceeded to steal second. One out later, redshirt-junior 3B Matt Leeds (Boca Raton, Fla.) ripped a double down the left-field line to plate Gantt for the early lead.

Elon fought back to tie the game in the top of the third, as Harry Austin reached on a fielding error by junior 2B Rob Harding (Columbia, S.C.) and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Fraser. Sebastian Gomez lined a RBI single to left to score Austin and knot the score at 1-1.

The Cougars reclaimed the lead in the fourth when Leeds reached on an infield single to third and raced around to third on a single to right center by redshirt-junior Jose Rodriguez (Hialeah, Fla.). Leeds would score on a sacrifice fly to center by Rakar to give Charleston the 2-1 lead.

Elon scored a pair of runs on a two-out double by Jake Luce in the fifth, taking a 3-2 lead. Grant McCoury singled to lead off the inning, and a pair of fielder’s choices by Seth Canipe and Austin gave the Phoenix two outs with a runner at first. Fraser was hit by a pitch for the second time of the afternoon, and Luce hit a hard grounder to first that took a nasty hop over the head of Gantt and into right field, allowing Elon to plate a pair of runs for a one-run lead. 

Gantt came through in the clutch for the Cougars in the seventh, blasting a two-out solo home run over the wall in left for his sixth round-tripper of the season and knotting the game at 3-3. Charleston pulled ahead in the eighth as Rakar lined a one-out single through the right side and was running on the pitch when a single to right by senior SS Jamie Holler (Rock Hill, S.C.) was picked up by Fraser and overthrown past third into the stands, allowing Rakar to score the eventual winning run and Holler to advance to third.

Junior Kyle Owings (Gilbert, S.C.) earned his first win of the season, tossing two innings of no-hit ball and allowing one walk. Junior starting RHP David Peterson (Walnut Creek, Calif.) kept the Cougars in the game through seven innings, scattering eight hits and allowing three runs – two earned – with two strikeouts. Charleston turned five double plays in the game, tying a school and SoCon Tournament record.

Elon reliever John Brebbia was tagged with the loss, allowing an unearned run on two hits in one inning of work. Dylan Clark gave up three runs on six hits in seven innings for the Phoenix, who were eliminated from the tournament with the loss.

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