PLEASANT, SC April 10, 2015 – Junior Taylor Clarke tossed his second complete game of the season while the College of Charleston exhibited another explosive night offensively to propel the Cougars to an 11-3 victory over Elon in game one of a three-game Colonial Athletic Association series at Patriots Point on Friday night.
Charleston (23-7, 10-0 CAA) has won nine straight games and 13 of its last 14, remaining unbeaten in the CAA this season and improving to 10-0 in conference play for the second time in program history.
Clarke (7-1, 1.88 ERA this season) went the distance for the Cougars, offering his fourth straight quality start and seventh in nine starts this season. The righty held the Phoenix offense – which was averaging 9.8 hits per game – to three runs on seven hits, while striking out nine and limiting himself to one walk.
Offensively, Champ Rowland picked up a career-high four hits on the night with an RBI and run scored, while Erven Roper became the ninth Cougar to homer this season and finished the game with three RBIs. Carl Wise jacked his ninth long ball of the year, and joined Nick Pappas and Blake Butler with multiple hits, combining for four RBIs and four runs scored between them.
Charleston virtually put the game out of reach from the start, plating seven runs and batting around in a five-hit first inning. With runners on the corners by virtue of a couple free passes, Butler doubled to the corner in left and Morgan Phillips singled through the left side, giving the Cougars a 3-0 cushion. With two outs and two on, Bradley Jones sent a full-count RBI single to center, and Roper cleared the bases with his long ball to right center on a 1-1 pitch. As the ninth batter to the plate, Rowland drove a triple to the warning track in right center, and scored on a wild pitch to push the lead to 7-0.
The Phoenix mustered a response in the second, with James Venuto leading off with a solo home run, only the third given up by Clarke in 62.1 innings this season. Back-to-back singles put runners on the corners with no outs, and the Cougars wisely conceded a run when they rolled up a 4-6-3 to alleviate the situation.
The Cougars took the runs back in the bottom half, with Wise doubling down the left field line, Butler singling to right center, and Pappas doubling to center, pushing the lead back to seven runs at 9-2.
The score stayed there until the sixth, when Wise homered to straight-away center field for his ninth of the season with one out and a full count.
Pappas doubled off the top of the wall in center to start the Cougar seventh, and later scored on a two-out RBI single by Rowland.
The Phoenix managed a run on two hits in the ninth, but Clarke picked up two more strikeouts in the final inning to solidify the win.
The Cougars will look to take the series with game two on Saturday, with Brandon Glazer scheduled to start for The College and face off against Elon’s Michael Elefante. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.
“We jumped up early with seven runs in the first inning which is huge in any game,” said head coach Monte Lee. “Taylor Clarke did an outstanding job again; he tossed a complete game; punched out nine, and only gave up seven hits. He threw the ball well against a pretty offensive ball club.
“We got production out of everyone in the lineup tonight. Every hitter either had a hit or scored a run, so we got production from top to bottom. Champ Rowland had a big day going 4-for-4; Nick Pappas had three hits. Carl Wise hit another homer; Erven Roper got his first homer of the year. So, we had a lot of big at bats throughout the lineup. It was an all-around good effort and hopefully we carry that into tomorrow.”
Charleston entered the game ranked No. 33 in the first release of the NCAA RPI. The Cougars were ranked 26th in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Poll and 30th in the Collegiate Baseball Poll, while receiving votes in the D1Baseball Poll and USA Today Coaches Poll.
The Cougars improve to 10-0 in conference play for the second time in program history and the first time since 2005, when the Cougars got out to a 12-0 start to their SoCon season.
Charleston entered the game eighth nationally in batting average and improved upon their average yet again, hitting .400 (16-for-40) to improve to .317 on the year.
The Cougars managed to extend their innings by batting .500 (8-for-16) with two outs and scored seven of their 11 runs with two outs.
CofC batted .409 (9-for-22) with runners on base and .429 (6-for-14) with runners in scoring position.
The College has homered at least once in six consecutive games and in 17 of their last 20. Charleston left the yard twice for the 12th time this season, going 11-1 on those occasions.
The Cougars have scored in the first inning in over half of their games and are outscoring their opponents 45-12 in the opening frame. CofC is 15-1 when scoring in the first inning.
Charleston improves to 20-0 when leading after the sixth inning and 21-0 when leading after the seventh.
Champ Rowland achieved a new career best with four hits in the game, having previously gone for three hits on two occasions. (Click for Rowland game by game stats)
As the Cougar leadoff to start the game, Ryan Brown has reached base successfully* (in the first inning) in nine straight games and 10 of the last 11. Brown has reached successfully* in 16 straight games overall. (Click for Brown game by game stats)
Carl Wise has reached base* in 16 consecutive games as well. The game was his 13th with multiple RBIs. (Click for Wise game by game stats)
Blake Butler has reached base successfully* in 28 straight games going all the way back to opening weekend. On the season, Butler has at least one base hit in 26 of CofC’s 30 games. (Click for Butler game by game stats)
*A reached-base streak includes base hits, walks, and hit by pitches. Reaching on an error or fielder’s choice does not extend a reached-base streak.