Charleston Southern finally broke through with four runs in the ninth inning and closer Austin Weekley set a new CSU single-season record with his ninth save as the Buccaneers beat Wofford on Wednesday night, 7-4.
CSU improves to 23-20 overall and has won 7-of-8 games. Wofford, which is now 10-3 against the Big South this season, falls to 23-22.
The Bucs outhit Wofford, 16-6, but didn't down the stretch until their final at-bat. Centerfielder Bobby Isonsingled home Sam Remick off of Wofford reliever Will Stillman, while Zack Hagaman and Chase Sheltonfollowed with RBI singles to fuel the Bucs' big inning. CSU trailed 4-3 entering the ninth and left 17 runners on-base, but turned what could have been a frustrating loss into momentum as Big South Conference play continues this weekend at Presbyterian.
"We kept feeling like we were going to have a chance to get that hit to take the lead," CSU head coach Stuart Lake said after the win. "You're hoping to win there late because this one would have been really frustrating to lose the way we pitched and kept getting hits. Bobby (Ison) got the one we needed to score (Sam) Remick and it felt like they just kept coming."
CSU's surge set up a save situation for Weekley in a record-setting spot. The junior came on retire the Terriers in the ninth and notch his ninth save of the season, topping his previous record of eight saves, which he set last season and shared with Payton Tweddale (2008).
"He has been the guy that we continue to run out in tough situations," Lake said of Weekley, who leads the Bucs with 21 appearances. "The thing I love about him is he's so consistent. He comes in, throws strikes, and gives us a chance to win. I'm happy he was able to get (the record) this season."
The Bucs' late rally and Weekley's record overshadowed a strong, collaborative effort by the bullpen. Six different CSU pitchers had scoreless appearances and the Bucs shutout Wofford over the final six innings.Denis Buckley started and held Wofford without a hit into the third. Reliever Will Hartsell (WP, 1-0) picked up the first win of his career working a scoreless eighth ahead of the Buccaneers rallied.
Senior Cody Austin had an RBI single in the third to score Alex Tomasovich for the Bucs first run and a 1-0 lead. He added a second RBI with a groundout in the sixth to cut the lead to 4-3 at the time. Junior Andrew Widell drew a bases-loaded walk for the Bucs' other early run.
Wofford broke a 1-1 tie in the fourth with three runs to build a 4-1 lead. First baseman Conor Clancy's RBI double started the scoring. The Terriers benefitted from an unearned run on a fielding error by the Bucs with two outs in the inning.
Shelton and catcher Sam Remick both finished 3-for-5 as part of CSU's 16-hit barrage. Ison, Tomasovich, Austin, and shortstop Kevin Hickey all added two of the Bucs' 16 singles.
Left fielder Demetrius Jennings had a single and three stolen bases for Wofford.
CSU returns to action on Friday at Presbyterian. First pitch is at 3 p.m. in Clinton, S.C.