CofC Cougars Return Home To Face Western Carolina
MT. PLEASANT, SC March 14, 2013 - College of Charleston (10-6, 2-1) returns home to face Western Carolina (10-7, 2-1) after a mid-week break that followed a 2-1 series win over Elon in the opening of SoCon play. The Cougars outlasted the Phoenix in a battle of the SoCon preseason favorites, overcoming a 4-0 deficit on Saturday and jumping out early on Sunday.
This weekend’s games are slated for starts at 6 p.m., 2 p.m. and 1 p.m.
Junior Ben Boykin had a big weekend, hitting .500 with three doubles and one triple, scoring three runs and driving in four. He also hit his first career home run last Thursday in a win at Charleston Southern.
Starting pitcher Matt Pegler was outstanding in CofC’s only loss of the week, a 3-2 heartbreaker in 10 innings on Friday night, while the bullpen stepped up big on Saturday and Sunday. Pegler went eight innings and allowed just two runs while striking out six and walking just one. Blake Ross picked up his first career win on Saturday with 2.2 IP of shutout ball, while Drew Freie went three innings of shutout ball on Sunday.
The Cougars have now won three of the first four weekend series, and sport an RPI of 28 (Warren Nolan) heading into this weekend’s bout with the Catamounts.
This weekend, College of Charleston will debut “Baseball Bingo.” Fans will be given Bingo Cards as they enter the stadium with different situations on each card (e.g. stolen base, fan catches ball in stands, etc.) When a Bingo is reached (single or full-card) fans can return the Bingo card to the hospitality deck for their prize.
All season long, Fridays are Faculty/Staff Fridays! All faculty and staff can show their campus ID at the Patriots Point Box Office for up to 4 free tickets. A student bus will leave Stern Center at 5:15 on Friday. The first 100 students to Friday’s game will receive a free St. Patrick’s Day shirt.
Friday RHP #46 Jeremy Null WCU 1-1, 2.45 ERA, 18.1 IP, 6 BB, 28 K
RHP #22 Matt Pegler CofC 1-0. 1.01 ERA, 26.2, 3 BB, 21 K
Saturday LHP #7 Morgan McKinney WCU 1-1, 1.50 ERA, 12.0 IP, 3 BB, 12 K
LHP #30 Jake Zokan CofC 0-1, 3.68 ERA, 22.0 IP, 3 BB, 23 K
Sunday RHP #28 Jordan Smith WCU 1-2, 5.73 ERA, 22.0 IP, 10 BB, 15 K
RHP #20 Nathan Helvey CofC 2-1, 3.57 ERA, 17.2 IP, 7 BB, 12 K
Friday night’s game will be carried live on the Charleston Sports Network (CofCSports.com) and on local radio, AM 910 The Zone. Jeff McCarragher will have the call alongside former player Rob Harding. Saturday and Sunday’s games will continued to be carried on the Charleston Sports Network with Jack Ryan taking the call.
Series vs. Western Carolina
The Cougars own a 35-14 advantage over the Catamounts in the modern series (since 1991). Last season, College of Charleston took two of three from WCU up in Cullowhee, N.C., in a hard-fought, late-season battle. Departed stars Daniel Aldrich and Ross Heffley accounted for all of the runs in game one with a combined five homers (Aldrich 3, Heffley 2), while the Cougars mounted a five-run ninth inning rally that came just one run short in game two. Matt Pegler picked up the win in a 6-2 victory in game three.
Scouting The Catamounts
Western Carolina was picked second in the SoCon Preseason Coaches poll, and enters the weekend after winning two of three at Davidson and defeating Eastern Kentucky on Wednesday night. The Catamounts have defeated mutual 2013 opponent, Georgia, 12-7.
WCU is led by Tyler White and his .366 batting average with 20 RBIs which ranks third in the league. The Catamounts average 6.2 runs per game and have a staff ERA of 3.79.
New Year, Same ERA
College of Charleston surprised many with its dominating pitching staff which led the SoCon in multiple categories in 2012. With five pitchers of that staff departed, including four to the minor leagues, some expected 2013 to be a rebuilding year for CofC pitching. However, through the first four weeks of the season the Cougars lead the conference with a staff ERA of 2.78 which is 34th in the country. They are first in opposing batting average (.236), fourth in strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.29) and second in homers allowed (4).
CofC Starters Are Quality
College of Charleston’s weekend starters (Matt Pegler, Jake Zokan and Nathan Helvey) have combined for six quality starts through the first four weekends. They have a collective 2.61 ERA and 4.2:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Pegler ranks second in the league with a 1.01 ERA and second with an opponent batting average of .191, while Zokan ranks second with 11 strikeouts looking.
Pegler Moving Up The Record Books
With his 1.01 ERA in 2013, Matt Pegler has brought his career ERA to 3.55 which ranks ninth in CofC history for pitchers over 75 innings pitched. Pegler is also second among active SoCon leaders in career ERA (3.55) and wins (15) and leads all active pitchers with a career opponent batting average of .242.
Freie-ing the Opposition
With the departure of three veteran bullpen arms in David Peterson, Kyle Owings and Nick Osterman, the Cougars have looked to senior Drew Freie to be a veteran presence among the relievers. Freie has answered in a big way, posting a team-best 3-2 record in eight appearances. He has punched out 17 batters in just 20 innings pitched and has only allowed four earned runs for an ERA of 1.80.
Hanzlik Thrown To The Fire
Many College of Charleston fans had not heard of junior transfer RHP Michael Hanzlik when he entered the game on Opening Night against Xavier (2/15). Hanzlik pitched an inning and a third of no-hit ball and earned his first career win after the Cougars scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. Hanzlik has now made nine appearances with a 1-1 record, one save and an ERA of 1.61. In all but two of his appearances, the game has either been tied or within one run.
Baby Got Boyk
Junior transfer Ben Boykin has made the most of his opportunities at the plate this season. Despite only starting 11 games at DH and first base, Boykin leads the team with a .357 batting average and a .595 slugging percentage. In four games last week, Boykin hit his first career home run as a pinch-hitter, tallied three doubles in a comeback win against Elon and then knocked a triple and two RBIs in Sunday’s win.
Freshmen Stepping Up
College of Charleston coach Monte Lee has inserted freshmen Blake Butler and Alex Pastorius into the everyday starting lineup and both players have answered the call early in their CofC careers. Butler is second on the team with a .418 on-base percentage with eight walks and 10 runs. Pastorius hit a two-run homer in just his second start at Jacksonville (2/27) and is hitting .297 with nine RBI. Freshman reserve Carl Wise has seen several spot starts and already is tied for the team lead with two home runs.
Heidt Not Sophomore Slumping
Sophomore shortstop Gunnar Heidt, one of just two true sophomores on the roster, has been an important returner for the Cougars infield and batting lineup. Heidt is hitting .323 with a team-best 16 runs scored and a SoCon-high three triples. He has a .554 slugging percentage with 13 RBIs. Heidt has also made a number of good plays defensively, turning five double plays this season.
Moving Up The RPI
After going 0-3 on the team’s first weekend road trip, College of Charleston has bounced back in a big way, winning seven of the next nine games, including series wins over RPI top-100 teams South Alabama and Elon. Warren Nolan’s RPI had CofC listed at 138 in week two, but the wins and strong strength of schedule has the Cougars all the way up to 28 in the RPI before this weekend.
Don’t Leave Before Stretching
College of Charleston has played nine games that have either been decided in the seventh inning or later, or have been one-run games at the outset of the seventh inning and through to the end. The Cougars are 4-5 in these close games so far this season. College of Charleston defeated UNC Wilmington (3/5) on a walk-off hit-by-pitch to cap a three-run ninth inning comeback. The Cougars also scored six runs in the seventh inning to come back and defeat Elon (3/9).
These Boots Are Made For Walking
College of Charleston has shown great patience at the plate so far this year, drawing 76 walks and posting a team on-base percentage of .364. The Cougars rank second in the SoCon in walks, while Brandon Murray (14) ranks second in the league individually.