CofC Looks To Bounce Back Against Tough Mid-Week Opponents
MT. PLEASANT, SC March 18, 2013 - College of Charleston (11-8, 3-3) will stay at home for two midweek games against UConn and The Citadel after an emotional weekend series against conference rival Western Carolina.
Tuesday’s game against UConn (10-6, 0-0) will start at 6 p.m. at Patriots Point, likewise with Wednesday’s bout with crosstown rival The Citadel (14-7, 4-2).
This past weekend, all three games were decided in the eighth inning or later as Western Carolina won Friday and Sunday to take the series. The Cougars had two quality starts from Jake Zokan and Nathan Helvey, and Matt Pegler allowed just four runs through 7.1 IP, but the bullpen picked up all three decisions over the weekend. CofC weekend starters only have five decisions in 15 games despite a combined eight quality starts.
College of Charleston freshmen (Morgan Phillips, Alex Pastorius, Blake Butler and Carl Wise) hit a combined .342 with seven doubles, six RBI and 11 runs. Phillips’ first career hit was a double on Saturday. He ended up belting four doubles in just seven at-bats with the game-winning RBI in Saturday’s eighth inning.
Tuesday’s game against UConn will be free admission to all fans. Wednesday’s game against The Citadel will not be a Southern Conference matchup. The two teams will play their conference series May 10-12 at Joe Riley Park.
Wednesday’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. Tuesday’s game will be audio only and streamed for free on CofCSports.com with Dennis Trapani and Mike Ward on the call.
Tuesday LHP #27 Christian Colletti UConn 1-0, 6.75 ERA, 5.1 IP, 0 BB, 8 K
RHP #5 Blake Ross CofC 1-0. 0.82 ERA,11.0 IP, 3 BB, 6 K
Wednesday RHP #23 Austin Livingston Citadel 2-0, 5.91 ERA, 10.2 IP, 7 BB, 12 K
TBA CofC n/a
Series vs. UConn/The Citadel
College of Charleston is facing UConn for the third year in a row at Patriots Point and is 1-1 in the all-time series. The Cougars defeated the Huskies 10-6 in last season’s meeting. College of Charleston and The Citadel are nearly dead even in the series since 1991 when CofC reinstituted baseball. Last year, CofC swept the Bulldogs in the regular season, but lost in extra innings, 8-6, in the first round of the SoCon Tournament. The Cougars are 10-13 against The Citadel in regular season non-conference matchups.
Scouting The Huskies
Connecticut enters the week with an RPI of 27 after losing two of three to Presbyterian over the weekend. UConn is averaging 6.1 runs per game with a staff ERA of 3.16. Despite hitting .285 as a team, UConn has only hit eight home runs as a team.
UConn is led by LJ Mazzilli who is hitting .388 with 17 RBI and three home runs. Vinny Siena has a .347 average, while Billy Ferriter and Tom Verdi each have nine stolen bases.
Scouting The Bulldogs
The Citadel has surprised many so far after being picked to finish eighth in the preseason by the SoCon coaches. The Bulldogs have won series over Wofford and Samford and will host South Carolina on Tuesday night.
Bo Thompson was named the SoCon Player of the Week on Monday after hitting .500 with four multi-hit games. Thompson has hit seven home runs this season with 21 RBI.
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, this season the Cougars lead the conference with a staff ERA of 3.24. They are first in opposing batting average (.252), fourth in strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.29) and second in homers allowed (8).
CofC Starters Are Quality
College of Charleston’s weekend starters (Matt Pegler, Jake Zokan and Nathan Helvey) have combined for eight quality starts through the first five weekends (15 starts). They have a collective 2.84 ERA and 5:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Pegler ranks fourth in the league with a 1.85 ERA and fourth with an opponent batting average of .213, while Zokan ranks fifth 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 (3.60) and wins (15) and leads all active pitchers with a career opponent batting average of .244.
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-high three wins (3-3) record in 10 appearances. He has punched out 18 batters in just 20 innings pitched and allowed nine earned runs for an ERA of 3.92.
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 fi rst career win after the Cougars scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. Hanzlik has now made a team-high 11 appearances with a 1-2 record, one save and an ERA of 2.70. In all but three of his appearances, the game has either been tied or within one run.
Philly From NYC
NYC native Morgan Phillips broke out of an 0-for-11 start to the season with four doubles in seven at-bats against Western Carolina. Looking to become the everyday starter in center field now, Phillips’ second career hit plated the game-winning RBI against the Catamounts in the 8th inning of Saturday’s game.
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 is third on the team with a .302 batting average and a .509 slugging percentage. In four games two weeks, 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 over the Phoenix.
True 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 third on the team with a .406 on-base percentage with 10 walks and 12 runs. Pastorius hit a two-run homer in just his second start at Jacksonville (2/27) and is hitting .297 with 11 RBI and five doubles. 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 leads the team with a .323 with a team-best 16 runs scored and a SoCon-high three triples. He has a .527 slugging percentage with 15 RBIs. Heidt has also made a number of good plays defensively, turning six 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 eight of the next 12 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 had the Cougars all the way up to 28 before playing Western Carolina. CofC now stands at 58 with Top 100 RPI teams in UConn and Citadel on deck.
Don’t Leave Before Stretching
College of Charleston has played 12 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 5-7 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). Against WCU, both teams scored the game-winning run in the eighth and ninth inning for the entire three-game series.
These Boots Are Made For Walking
College of Charleston has shown great patience at the plate so far this year, drawing 85 walks and posting a team on-base percentage of .363. The Cougars rank second in the SoCon in walks, while Brandon Murray (16) ranks third in the league individually.