AUBURN, Ala. – College of Charleston scored three runs in the sixth inning to pull to within one run, but ultimately could not overcome Middle Tennessee State, falling by a score of 4-3.
The loss was the third straight for Charleston (3-4), while Middle Tennessee State (5-2) went 3-0 on the weekend with wins over Auburn, Indiana State and the Cougars.
Blue Raider starter Zac Curtis (1-1) picked up the win for MTSU, pitching a shutout into the sixth inning before giving up two hits and getting pulled. He ended up being responsible for all three CofC runs in the inning.
Charleston freshman Nathan Helvey (1-1) suffered his first loss of his career, pitching into the fourth inning and allowing three runs on five hits. After reliever Drew Freie gave up a run in the fifth, the CofC bullpen settled in with Michael Hanzlik and Dre Watts combining for three innings pitched, three strikeouts and just three hits allowed.
Ryan Ford tallied three hits with a run and an RBI for MTSU, and Johnny Thomas hit an RBI triple and scored a run.
Brandon Murray hit the only extra-base knock for the Cougars, coming in the three-run sixth inning, and he came around to score. Freshman Alex Pastorius tallied an RBI in his first career hit and classmate Blake Butler also tallied an RBI.
The Blue Raiders scored their first run in the second inning with a double steal with runners on first and third. MTSU struck again in the third when Thomas’ triple off the wall in right field scored Ford. Thomas then came home to score on a wild pitch to put Middle Tennessee State up 3-0.
The Sun Belt Conference representatives then added to the lead in the fifth inning with a leadoff double from Dain McNabb and an RBI single from Ford.
The Cougars struck back in the bottom of the sixth inning with three runs on four hits. Bradley Goodson led off the inning with a walk and advanced to third on a ground-rule double from Murray. Pastorius knocked in Goodson with a base hit to left, and Murray came home to score on a failed pickoff attempt that went wide of the first baseman.
The Cougars loaded the bases with two outs and threatened to tie or take the lead, but leadoff batter Gunnar Heidt struck out swinging, one of four strikeouts on the day for the shortstop.
The Cougars put a leadoff runner on in the bottom of the ninth inning, but Heidt struck out with a bunt foul and Goodson and Murray couldn’t get the ball out of the infield.
Sunday’s loss marks the first time since March of 2011 that the Cougars were swept in a weekend series.
College of Charleston hits the road again on Tuesday to play at Jacksonville at 4 p.m. That game will be broadcast, audio-only, on the Charleston Sports Network on CofCSports.com.