April 14, 2013

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CBI Live
Murray, Cougars Whip Wildcats


By Sean Ryan

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder

sean@collegebaseballinsider.com   @collbaseball


DAVIDSON, N.C. – Over the years, College of Charleston has grown accustomed to scoring. A lot.


This season has been a little different for the Cougars, who feature a younger and less experienced lineup than in recent years. Through 35 games, Charleston has been held to four or fewer runs in 17 games (4-13); it is in the bottom three in the Southern Conference in average (.268), homers (19) and strikeouts (8.5 per game).   


“We’ve been good and we’ve been bad, we haven’t been in between,” Cougars coach Monte Lee.


Charleston was exceptional Sunday in its rubber game with Davidson as Brandon Murray (pictrued) went 3 for 5 with two homers, four runs and a school-record nine RBI in an 18-5 rout of the Wildcats. The Cougars (11-6, 20-15) set new season highs with 18 runs, 19 hits, four homers, seven doubles and 18 RBI. And they showed the promise of what can be for a team hot on the heels of SoCon leaders Elon and Western Carolina, both at 12-6.


Murray (left) ripped a grand slam, the first of his career, in the top of the fifth to help the Cougars break from a 3-2 game. He added a two-run double in the seventh and a three-run homer in the ninth.


In between, shortstop Gunnar Heidt (3 for 5, 4 R, 3 RBI) ripped a two-run homer, and Morgan Phillips (2 for 4) hit a solo shot. Blake Butler went 3 for 5 with a double, triple and three runs, Ben Boykin went 3 for 5 with a pair of doubles and Devon Reed contributed a 2-for-2 afternoon with two doubles and two RBI off the bench.


“When we’ve played well, we’ve hit the ball,” Lee said.


The Cougars, according to Lee, aren’t as power-oriented as they’ve been in the past. And with younger guys in the lineup, he said the hitters are still learning to hit with guys on base.


Charleston’s pitching and defense, on the other hand, have enabled the offense to mature. The Cougars lead the SoCon with a 3.91 ERA, and opponents hit .252 – only The Citadel (.268) is within 20 points in that category.


“Our starting pitching has been really good, and our weekend starters have been very good,” Lee said.


Jake Zokan (2-1) tossed six solid innings with seven hits, two earned runs and five strikeouts for Charleston. And defensively, Heidt made a leaping, backhanded stab at short to save a hit, and first baseman Carl Wise, who scored four times, made a slick play on a foul pop down the right-field line, gloving the ball as he fell to the ground and grabbing it with his bare hand when the ball popped out upon impact.


Forrest Brandt went 2 for 4 with two doubles and two runs to lead the Wildcats (5-13, 10-24). Chris Dyer hit his first career homer, and Jack McLindon had a pinch-hit, two-run double for Davidson.   




Davidson coach Dick Cooke still is recovering from the serious car accident he was involved in September. Cooke, in his 23rd season with the Wildcats, still walks with a significant limp and wears a knee brace on his right leg for stabilization. He said after Sunday’s game that he and his doctors still need to map out a plan to rehabilitate his right ankle and knee. Cooke was injured when his van was hit from behind by a speeding driver while driving in Interstate 77. Among other injuries, he suffered a broken leg and kneecap, broken ribs and a punctured lung.


(photos courtesy of College of Charleston Media Relations)