College of Charleston (26-12, 9-2) used dominant pitching and timely run production to sweep a Saturday doubleheader over JMU (12-23, 4-6) with scores of 6-2 and 5-0.
Charleston allowed just one earned run in 18 innings of play as the Cougars extended their conference winning streak to eight games. With the series victory, CofC stays in first place in the CAA heading into Sunday’s series finale. Saturday’s doubleheader occurred after Friday’s series opener was moved due to weather.
Both of College of Charleston’s starting pitchers, Taylor Clarke and Bailey Ober, posted quality starts with neither pitcher allowing a run. In game one, Clarke (8-2) took his CAA-best eighth victory with a 7.0-inning start, allowing just four hits and striking out six with only two walks. Ober (7-2) went eight innings for the fourth time this season as he struck out eight and scattered five hits with two walks. Ober was a part of his team-best third shutout this season.
Clarke and Ober have been the CAA’s best one-two punch with a combined 15-4 record with a 1.74 ERA. The duo have 101 strikeouts with just 29 walks.
CofC’s offense saw production from top to bottom as nine different players had hits in the two games and all 11 position players that saw action reached base safely. Gunnar Heidt posted hits in both games to extend his hitting streak to 12 games, scoring three runs.
College of Charleston got on the scoreboard in the second inning after Brandon Glazer reached base after a dropped fly ball from the right fielder. He stole second and then came home to score on a two-out base hit by Bradley Jones.
JMU starter Aaron Hoover (0-5) settled in and the game remained at 1-0 until the bottom of the sixth inning when the home team exploded for three runs. Blake Butler and Heidt led off with walks and Carl Wise tripled to left center to score both runs. Morgan Phillips singled up the middle to score Wise and the Cougars led 4-0.
CofC tacked on two more runs in the seventh inning with RBI singles from Heidt and Glazer.
Charleston reliever Chase Henry entered in the eighth inning and looked to be shutting out the Dukes in the ninth when the JMU offense came alive. Matt Tenaglia led off with a single and Kyle Weston reached on an error. After a groundout advanced the runners, Josh Wyatt singled to left field for JMU’s first run. A walk then loaded the bases and Ty McFarland scored another unearned run with a single. Henry was able to lock in as he then struck Conner Brown and induced a foulout to end the game, 6-2.
After stranding four base runners in the first two innings, Ober settled in and the JMU offense saw very few chances for the rest of the game.
Charleston effectively put it away with a four-run fourth inning, keyed by timely singles and patient at-bats. Wise led off with a single followed by a Nick Pappas double. Phillips drove in Wise with a single and Pappas scored on a failed pickoff attempt to third. Glazer singled down the right field line to score Phillips and then Champ Rowland drove in a run with an RBI hit. Rowland was the only CofC play to tally two hits in game two.
CofC added a run in the fifth on a sacrifice fly RBI from Pappas which gave Ober all the breathing room he needed. Michael Hanzlik pitched a perfect ninth inning to secure the shutout victory.
College of Charleston goes for its third CAA series sweep tomorrow with a 1 p.m. start against JMU.