Citadel beats Western Carolina 12-11 in SoCon slugfest - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Citadel beats Western Carolina 12-11 in SoCon slugfest

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GREENVILLE, S.C. – Tyler Griffin's three-run home run in the sixth inning proved to be the difference in a dramatic back-and-forth affair between No. 1 seed Western Carolina and No. 4 seed The Citadel, sending the Bulldogs to a 12-11 win Thursday in the Southern Conference Baseball Championship at Fluor Field.


Western Carolina (39-19) will take on No. 5 seed Appalachian State in an elimination game Friday at 3 p.m. The Citadel (34-24) earned itself a day off and will face the winner of the WCU-Appalachian State game on Saturday at 10 a.m.


The 2-5 hitters in The Citadel's lineup combined to go 9-for-16 with 10 runs scored and five driven in. Griffin had four of those RBIs as part of his 2-for-4 day. Bo Thompson was 3-for-5 with three runs scored, and Hughtson Armstrong and Joe Jackson had two hits each. Johnathan Stokes, the Bulldogs' 9-hole hitter, was 3-for-4 with four RBIs.


All nine starting hitters for the Catamounts recorded hits, with Jacob Hoyle hitting a pair of home runs and driving in four runs and SoCon Player of the Year Tyler White hitting a sixth-inning grand slam.


After the teams combined for just one run in the first three innings, they exploded for 20 over the next three to bring the crowd to life.


With WCU holding a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth, The Citadel took its first lead of the day on Calvin Orth's two-run single. Stokes added another RBI hit to make it 3-1, but the Catamounts tied it in the top of the next frame, with Hoyle hitting his first two-run homer.


The Citadel seemed to blow the game open the following inning, plating five runs to take what appeared at the time to be a commanding 8-3 lead. Stokes had the big blow in the inning, as his bases-clearing double put the Bulldogs up by five.


Western Carolina answered emphatically in the top of the sixth, with Julian Ridings drawing a bases-loaded walk ahead of White, who crushed a pitch out to left-center to tie the contest at 8. The Catamounts weren't done in the inning, as Dykota Spiess' RBI single later plated Adam Martin to put WCU ahead by one.


The Bulldogs had one more big inning in them, coming right back with four in the bottom half of the sixth. After Jackson's RBI double down the left-field line, Thompson singled to put runners on the corners. That brought up Griffin, who fouled off a pitch before depositing one onto the patio of the condo beyond the wall in left-center to make it a 12-9 game.


WCU had one more rally in it, getting another two-run homer from Hoyle in the top of the eighth, but The Citadel's defense stepped up to limit the damage. After Martin drew a walk, Bulldog shortstop Spiess made a diving stop on a ground ball and flipped it behind his back to for the force out to second baseman Mason Davis, who fired to first to complete the double play and end the inning.


The teams used six pitchers each, with James Reeves (2-1) picking up the win for The Citadel despite allowing five runs in an inning of work. Citadel freshman Skylar Hunter struck out the only batter he faced for his 12th save of the season.


WCU reliever Jon Nadale took the loss, falling to 0-3 after allowing two runs and not recording an out in the sixth inning.



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