April 29, 2011

The Citadel Hosts Presbyterian in Three-Game Non-Conference Tilt


Charleston, S.C. – The Citadel Baseball team continues their non-conference streak with a three-game set against Presbyterian at Riley Park this weekend. The Bulldogs and Blue Hose will meet at 4 p.m. on Saturday and again for a doubleheader beginning at noon on Sunday. The third game of the series will follow approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of the opening game on Sunday. Please note all times and games were altered this week from the original schedule to final examinations at The Citadel.

The Citadel and Presbyterian renew their rivalry on the diamond this weekend in Charleston after last meeting in 2009 with a pair of home-and-home midweek contests. In their last meeting in 2009, the Blue Hose snapped a 25-game losing streak to the Bulldogs with a 12-6 victory in Clinton.

In the series history, The Citadel holds an advantage of 38-16-2 over Presbyterian. In games played in Charleston, the Bulldogs are 21-1. PC will be looking to win back-to-back games over The Citadel for the first time since they won a single game in 1928 and again in 1939.

Presbyterian enters with an overall record of 18-23 and has lost 12 consecutive games, including three sweeps in their last three conference weekends to Coastal Carolina, Liberty and Gardner-Webb to fall to 4-14 in the Big South. PC does have midweek victories at Tennessee and Clemson in 2011.

Leading the PC offense is freshman Brad Zebedis who is batting .423 (66-for-156) with 33 runs, 17 doubles, 10 homers and 43 RBI. Junior Tony Micklon has added 34 runs, 16 doubles, nine homers and 36 RBI while batting .340 (52-for-153). The team is .295 collectively. On the mound, the Blue Hose have a team ERA of 4.74. Presbyterian junior Jordan Pace is 2-5 with an ERA of 3.15 in 74.1 innings with 36 strikeouts and three complete games. Closer Chandler Knox is 3-3 with four saves and an ERA of 4.11 in 35.0 innings of work with 26 punchouts.

Last weekend, The Citadel and USC Upstate split a doubleheader on Saturday at Riley Park. In the opening game, the Spartans touched up Matt Talley for a career-high 11 hits and capitalized on four Bulldog errors to win 6-2. USCU ace Scott DeCecco did not give up a hit until the fifth inning and pitched into the ninth inning for the win. In the second game, Austin Pritcher scattered nine hits in 7.0 innings and allowed one unearned run while striking out four and walked no one to pick up the win. The Bulldogs scored a pair of runs in the first inning and held on to win 3-2 as freshman RHP Justin Russell collected his first career save in his first appearance out of the bullpen. The two teams will meet for a third game at Fluor Field in Greenville on May 11.

After completing the season sweep of Charleston Southern on April 19, The Citadel bumped up their record to 4-1 against their counterparts from Charleston. In their first game against the Bucs at Riley, The Bulldogs won, 12-5. In early April, The Citadel took two of three from College of Charleston in conference play with a midweek non-conference game in May still to come.

In Tuesday's win over Charleston Southern, the offense led the way as they picked up double-digit hits for the sixth time in the last seven games. Calvin Orth matched his career high in hits and RBI by going 3-for-5 with a pair of RBI. Joe Jackson set a new career-high in RBI as he went 2-for-4 with four RBI. Freshman RHP Bryce Hines improved to 3-3 after hurling 6.0 solid innings of work, allowing just one run on four hits. Connor Hitchingham picked up his first career save and struck out a career-high four batters over the final 3.0 innings of work in an 11-3 victory.

After seven straight weekends of Southern Conference action, The Citadel goes out of conference for eight consecutive games, including a pair of weekend series. The stretch began with Charleston Southern on April 19 and concludes with Winthrop on May 4 with weekend series against USC Upstate and Presbyterian mixed in between.

As a reward for his stellar start against No. 3 South Carolina, freshman left-hander Logan Cribb was named the CB360 National Primetime Pitcher of the Week as well as the SoCon Co-Pitcher of the Week on April 18. Cribb (Rock Hill, S.C.) made his first career start against No. 3 South Carolina on April 12 and hurled 8.0 scoreless innings and pitched into the ninth inning as The Citadel shutout the Gamecocks for the first time since 1971 in a 2-0 victory.

The freshman scattered eight hits and walked three while striking out a career-high three batters. Before his start on Tuesday, the southpaw had never pitched more than 2.2 innings. He worked two more innings over the weekend, surrendering one earned run. Sharing the honor with Appalachian State's Ryan Arrowood, who threw a complete-game four-hit shutout against Samford over the weekend, Cribb becomes the first Bulldog to win the award this season.

The Citadel returns to Charleston to begin a nine-game homestand with USC Upstate on April 22 after playing 13 of their last 18 games on the road and will play eight of their final games away from Riley Park.

The Citadel had a disastrous weekend defensively at Furman as they dropped two out of three games in Greenville. In a close game in the middle innings on Friday, the Bulldog committed seven errors late to fall, 12-3. After rallying to take a lead into the ninth inning on Saturday, a pair of Citadel miscues in the bottom of the frame allowed the Paladins to walk-off with a 7-6 win. Justin Mackert's two homers and five RBI lifted The Citadel to a 9-7 win in 10 innings on Sunday, while TJ Clarkson nailed down his second save of the week to salvage a game for the Bulldogs.

Senior Matt Talley threw his second consecutive complete game on April 8 and shutdown the high powered College of Charleston offense by scattering nine hits and two runs over 9.0 innings. The win is the 20th of Talley's career and helped the Bulldogs take the series from the Cougars. The southpaw recorded his 200th career strikeout in the sixth inning when he fanned C of C's Rob Kral.

Freshman Joe Jackson has made an immediate impact for the Bulldogs this season. The Mauldin, S.C. native is hitting .318 with 18 runs, 22 RBI, six doubles and a triple. He has added 16 walks and a pair of stolen bases while alternating between catcher and designated hitter in 35 starts this season. He had a season-high four RBI at Charleston Southern on April 19.

Freshman Drew DeKerlegand has been impressive in seizing the starting job at third base this season. The Pearland, Texas native began his career with an 11-game hit streak. He has reached base in 35 out of 40 games this season. So far in 2011, DeKerlegand has 47 hits, 18 RBI and 27 runs. He also has nine doubles, two triples, two homers and is batting .318.

Redshirt junior William Ladd has reached base in 15 consecutive games twice this season. Overall, he has reached base in 38 of the 40 games played in 2011. The versatile outfielder has played in both left and right field this season and is currently hitting .343 with 48 hits, 30 runs and 25 RBI. He has 12 walks, has been hit by 11 pitches and has 12 stolen bases. He also had a career-high 11-game hit streak this season that ended against Samford. Ladd belted a three-run homer at Wofford on March 25 for his third career homer and tied a career-high with three RBI.

Senior left-handed pitcher Drew Mahaffey will undergo season-ending surgery in May after he injured his knee on April 10 against College of Charleston. The injury occurred when Mahaffey (Summerville, S.C.) struck out the Cougars' Matt Leeds in the fifth inning of Sunday's game. The senior slipped and fell off the mound while throwing the pitch and did not return to the game.

Mahaffey finishes sixth all-time at The Citadel with 19 career saves and is 10th on the all-time career list with 84 appearances.

The Citadel has felt their fair share of heartbreak in the 2011 season. The Bulldogs have gone through a stretch where six consecutive SoCon games were decided by just one run, going 1-5 in those contests.

On the season, The Citadel has played in 13 one-run games, going 3-10 in those contests. In total, 21 of their games this season have been decided by two runs or less with a record of 6-15 in those games. The Bulldogs are among the national leaders in most one-run games played in Division I this season.

The Citadel has only 12 active pitchers on their roster after senior closer Drew Mahaffey was lost for the season which ranks among the least amount in Division I this season. The only teams with fewer pitchers are Coppin State (7), UMES (7), Farleigh Dickinson (8), Cleveland State (9), USC Upstate (10), Campbell (11) and Youngstown State (11). Marist, UIC and Southern Illinois also only have 12 pitchers on their active roster.

Several Bulldogs have stepped up this season in the bullpen. Junior RHP TJ Clarkson stepped in with the first two saves of his career after senior closer Drew Mahaffey went down. Clarkson got the save against No. 3 South Carolina when he entered with the bases loaded and no one out and preserved the shutout. Junior RHP Jeremy Long has been solid with an ERA of 2.08 in 17 appearances. Long set his career-high in innings pitched against No. 29 Coastal Carolina on March 23. Freshman lefty David Leeth saw limited action early in the season, but had his most impressive outing on April 10 when he kept the powerful College of Charleston offense scoreless for the remaining 4.0 innings of the game.

Sophomore pitcher Austin Pritcher was moved to Friday night when senior Matt Talley tweaked an injury and works his way back into the rotation. The right-hander has been steady so far this season, going 3-3 in seven starts with 51 strikeouts (third in the SoCon) and an ERA of 3.76. The James Island native hurled 8.0 scoreless innings against ASU on March 4, walking no one and striking out 13 batters, a career high. On Feb. 19 against Towson, Pritcher fired 7.0 innings and struck out eight batters in the win and on Feb. 26 against Old Dominion, the righty threw 7.0 innings and struck out seven.

Several freshmen have made contributions to the 2011 squad early and often so far this season. Third baseman Drew DeKerlegand has started in every game and recorded an 11-game hit streak to start his career. He has reached base in 35 of 40 games this season. Calvin Orth has seen action at shortstop and at DH this season, adding five runs and eight RBI while Tyler Griffin has been in as the DH, in left field and pinch hit with a grand slam and two doubles to go with nine RBI. Freshman backstop Joe Jackson has alternated catching duties with Grant Richards and is batting .318 with 18 runs, 22 RBI and 16 walks to open his career. On the mound, Bryce Hines struck out 10 in his first career start against Old Dominion on Feb. 27 in a no-decision. Hines picked up his first career win against Appalachian State on March 5 with 6.0 innings of one-run ball.

Sophomore RHP Austin Pritcher was named SoCon Pitcher of the Month in February. He started the 2011 season off in impressive fashion for The Citadel as he set career highs in both innings pitched and in strikeouts in his first two starts. He posted a record of 2-0 and an ERA of 1.29 ERA in the month. The sophomore right-hander went 7.0 innings in both starts against Towson and Old Dominion. In February, he allowed just two earned runs, eight total hits and struck out 15.

Junior Nick Orvin was named SoCon Student-Athlete of the Week on March 30 after hitting .364 (8-for-22) in five games while totaling 15 bases and hitting two home runs.  Against No. 29 Coastal Carolina in midweek action, Orvin picked up his 200th career hit with a solo home run.

In the first game of March 27's doubleheader against conference foe Wofford, Orvin hit his 12th career home run and his team-leading third long ball of the season.  The junior outfielder hit safely in all five of the Bulldogs' contests and had three multi-hit games to complement four runs, four RBI, two walks and a steal. It is the second award in as many years for Orvin, the Moncks Corner, S.C. native who is majoring in education with a GPA of 3.74.

Matt Talley earned the award on April 13 after he pitched his second consecutive complete game and the fourth of his career on April 8 across cross-town conference rival College of Charleston.  It was Talley's 20th career victory as he struck out three and allowed no walks in the game.  In the sixth inning, the lefty struck out the Cougars' Rob Kral to record his 200th career strikeout. The Bulldog ace is the top engineering student at The Citadel and holds a 3.70 GPA in civil engineering.

The Citadel wraps up their eight-game out of conference swing with Winthrop on Wednesday at Riley Park. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. and it will mark the third time the two teams have faced each other this season.

Live audio, video and stats along with twitter updates will be available for each game.  A recap and box score will follow all the action on all new CitadelSports.com.

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