College of Charleston starting pitcher Matt Pegler pitched his first career complete game and did not allow a hit until the sixth inning as the Cougars defeated Bethune-Cookman, 8-2, in an NCAA Gainesville Regional elimination game. Pegler (10-2) won his 10th game of the season as he allowed two hits and two runs while striking out a career-best nine Wildcats in his
first career complete game. Pegler did not allow a walk in the contest as he went into the sixth inning before allowing a hit.
The Cougars have now won eight straight games with Pegler on the mound, as the junior from Greenville, S.C., has posted a 7-0 record in those games. On the season, CofC is 7-0 when Pegler pitches on the day after a loss. The Cougars (38-21) staved off elimination by holding Bethune-Cookman (34-27) to eight hitless innings with the only blemish coming on a sixth-inning infield single by Carlos Delgado and a two-run home run by Josh Johnson in the next at-bat. The Wildcats had been hitless for 14.2 innings after Florida's Jonathon Crawford pitched a no-hitter in the first game of the Gainesville Regional.
Offensively, the Cougars were led by Daniel Aldrich who finished with a home run and double, driving in two and scoring two runs. Aldrich's solo homer in the fourth inning was his 11th of the season as he cleared the scoreboard in right field. Marty Gantt extended his hitting streak to 10 games, his third streak of that length this season, as he finished with a double and two runs while also stealing his team-leading 27th and 28th bases of the season.
Brandon Murray, Rob Harding and Brandon Glazer all tallied an RBI and run scored, while Devon Reed knocked a double and scored a run.
"Obviously, it was a really good game for us," head coach Monte Lee said. "It was tough being an elimination game and we needed to play our best game. It all started with Matt Pegler who gave us an outstanding start and threw a complete game. He was the reason that we won today. We also swung the bats well and played really good defensively."
Gantt opened the game with a double and then stole third base, eventually coming home on a double-play grounder from Harding. The Cougars extended the lead in the fourth inning when Aldrich launched a ball over the right field scoreboard for a solo home run that made it 2-0. Glazer extended the inning with a walk and Cody Martin eventually drove him in with an RBI single.
College of Charleston blew the game open in the fifth inning, led by a leadoff double from Reed. CofC followed it up with consecutive singles from Gantt, Murray, Harding, Aldrich and Glazer, scoring five runs in the inning and pushing the CofC lead to 8-0. Bethune-Cookman broke up the no-hit bid in the top of the sixth inning when Delgado hit a ball up the middle and bounced off second base. Johnson followed it up with a two-run homer to left field to pull the margin to 8-2.
Pegler continued to be dominant through the final three innings as he finished with just 92 pitches and a career-best nine strikeouts. His performance was even more important in the tournament format as it kept the CofC bullpen rested for a run out of the loser's bracket. College of Charleston will face the loser of the Florida/Georgia Tech game at noon tomorrow on ESPN2.
SEMINOLES BLOW OUT SAMFORD
The third-seeded Samford baseball team dropped an 8-1 decision to top-seeded and third-ranked Florida State Saturday night in a winner's bracket game at the NCAA Tallahassee Regional at Dick Howser Stadium. Samford will now take on second-seeded Mississippi State in an elimination game Sunday at 11 a.m. (CT). The winner of that game will then take on Florida State at 5 p.m. (CT).
Florida State pitcher Brandon Leibrandt (7-2) pitched 8.0 impressive innings, giving up no runs on three hits to earn the win. Leibrandt struck out a career-high 10 batters and allowed no walks in the win.
"Obviously, the story of the night was the Leibrandt kid," Samford head coach Casey Dunn said. "I thought he got us really out of sync and out of rhythm early on, and he really did a great job of pitching both sides of the plate. Obviously, that was the story of the night."
Samford's Josh Martin (12-2) pitched 6.2 innings, giving up seven runs on seven hits to take the loss. Martin struck out five batters and walked four. Joseph Burns, Lex Rutledge and Gil Walker also saw time on the mound for Samford. For Samford at the plate, C.K. Irby drove in the Bulldogs' lone run of the night, going 1-for-4. Brad Moss, Saxon Butler, Phillip Ervin, Matt Frederick and Tyler Filliben also had one hit each for the Bulldogs.
Florida State was led at the plate by James Ramsey, going 2-for-4 with his first career grand slam and four RBI. Jayce Boyd went 2-for-5 with a double and two RBI. Sherman Johnson went 2-for-4 with a home run and one RBI for the Seminoles. Florida State put the first run on the scoreboard in the top of the first inning. Leadoff hitter Johnson hit a home run to right-center field on the second pitch of the game for a 1-0 Seminole lead.
The Seminoles added three runs in the top of the sixth inning to push their lead to 4-0. Boyd drove in two runs with a single, while Stephen McGee drove in one run in the inning for Florida State. Florida State added four more runs in the seventh inning to make the score 8-0. Ramsey hit a grand slam to right field with Devon Travis, Johnson and John Holland on base for an eight-run FSU lead.
Samford put its lone run of the game on the scoreboard in the bottom of the ninth inning. Pinch-hitter Frederick singled to lead off the inning. With one out, Filliben singled to left field. With two outs, Irby singled to left field to drive in Frederick to make the final score 8-1. Samford drops to 40-22 with the loss. Florida State improves to 45-15 with the win. Sunday's games can be seen live on ESPN3.com.