May 30, 2010
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The Citadel rides
five-run first to Southern Conference title
By Phil Stanton
S.C. – After a tournament full of thrillers, the finale was over
Top-seeded The Citadel used a five-run first to
roll to a 10-3 victory over sixth-seeded Western Carolina Sunday
afternoon in the championship game of the Southern Conference
Tournament in front of 4,895 fans at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park,
the third-largest crowd in tourney history.
The Bulldogs (42-20) captured their eighth SoCon
title (first since 2004) and earned an automatic bid to the NCAA
Tournament. The Citadel won its 12th straight game, the
second-longest steak in the nation.
The early runs benefited Bulldog starter Asher
Wojciechowski (12-2), who went eight innings (100 pitches) with
seven hits, three runs (two earned), one walk and eight
strikeouts. The potential first-round pick received a standing
ovation when he was taken out the game.
“It felt great,” Wojciechowski said, “walking off
that field and getting a standing ‘O’. It was something special.
I’ll remember this forever.”
It was the second win of the tournament for
Wojciechowski, as he pitched eight innings (117 pitches) against
Furman on Wednesday.
“I was leaning that way,” said Bulldog head coach
Fred Jordan about his pitching decision. “At 8:45 last night he
called me and he said ‘I want the rock.’ There was no way I was
going to argue with him. He held up his end of the bargain and
he’ll be ready to go this weekend.”
Wojciechowski tied a school
record for wins in a season.
The Citadel erupted in the top of the first. Nick
Orvin had a leadoff double off the scoreboard in left and scored
on a single by Brad Felder. Matt Simonelli had a base hit and
RBI singles by Bryan Altman and tournament Most Outstanding
Player Justin Mackert made it 3-0. Kyle Jordan had a run-scoring
groundout and David Greene capped the rally with a sacrifice fly
to right to make it 5-0.
“That took a lot of pressure off,” Wojciechowski
said. “We put up a five-spot in the first and going out there,
knowing all I had to do was throw strikes, pound the zone, let
their players get out. It gave me a lot of confidence and took a
lot of pressure off me.”
The Bulldogs added a pair in the second as Jordan
hit a bouncer toward the second baseman that took a huge bounce
over his head for a two-run double and a 7-0 advantage.
WCU scratched for one in
the third as Ollie Goulder singled and scored on an error to
make it 7-1.
David Greene hit a two-run single in the fourth
as The Citadel stretched its lead to 9-1.
Ross Heffley doubled and scored in the bottom of
the frame, and Matt Johns had a RBI single in the sixth for the
Jordan and Greene both finished with three RBI.
Altman scored three for the Bulldogs.
WCU starter Matt Benedict
(9-2), who pitched 7.2 innings on Wednesday against Georgia
Southern, was knocked out of the game in the fifth. He worked
4.1 innings with 11 hits, 10 runs (eight earned), two walks and
Heffley and Austin Schultz
both had two hits for the Catamounts (37-21-1).
“I’m very proud of my team,” WCU head coach Bobby
Moranda said. “We’re very disappointed that we didn’t win a
championship, but I’m very proud of our leadership on our team,
proud of our program and the direction it’s going. It was an
exciting tournament for our program and we’ll be back.”
With 42 victories, The Citadel has its most wins
in a season under head coach Fred Jordan and second-most in
school history. The 1990 College World Series team recorded 46
The 2010 SoCon Tournament drew 21,511 fans, an
average of 1,537 for 14 games.
The Southern Conference All-Tournament Team
SP – Asher Wojciechowski, The Citadel
SP – Jimmy Reyes, Elon
RP – Brandon Johnson, Western Carolina
C – Ollie Goulder, Western Carolina
1B – Justin Mackert, The Citadel
2B – Wes Hobson, Appalachian State
SS – Jamie Holler, College of Charleston
3B – Hector Crespo, Appalachian State
OF – Chris Alessandria, Appalachian State
OF – William Ladd, The Citadel
OF – Matt Johns, Western Carolina
DH – Brad Felder, The Citadel
Walt Nadzak Award, Tournament Most Outstanding
Justin Mackert, The Citadel
(photos courtesy of Southern
Conference Media Relations Office)