Cougars come through in the clutch to beat Elon

MT. PLEASANT, S.C. – Ryan Brown’s two-out, two-RBI base hit in the eighth inning gave College of Charleston the lead, while Bradley Dixon threw out the potential tying run at the plate in the bottom half of the inning as the sixth-seeded Cougars knocked off No. 3 Elon, 9-8, on Wednesday at Patriots Point in the Colonial Athletic Association Baseball Championships.

Trailing 7-6 with two outs in the eighth, Morgan Phillips singled up the middle and Luke Manzo followed with a base hit of his own allowing Phillips to advance to third. After Manzo stole second, Brown delivered a line drive single to right on a 2-1 count to hand the Cougars (30-24-1) the lead.

Elon (25-28) threatened in the bottom of the frame against Charleston closer Carter Love. Nick Zammarelli doubled with one out and Tyler McVicar was subsequently walked. Third baseman Danny Lynch then slashed a base hit to left, where Dixon scooped it up and fired a bullet to catcher Erven Roper, who applied the tag.

“I don’t even know what I said or did after that,” Dixon said. “I was just pumped. I knew I was probably going to have to make a play. While I was charging the ball, I heard [Morgan Phillips] yelling that I was going to have to come up throwing. I was on line an Roper made the tag, it was a big play.”

Charleston opened the scoring in the second on a bases-loaded walk by Manzo. Brown tacked on another run with a sacrifice fly. Senior outfielder Alex Pastorius quietly made his case for player of the game with a 2-for-4 performance at the plate with three RBI. Pastorius drove in two runs with a two-out triple in the third and another on a double in the sixth.

Elon re-claimed the lead with a five-run fourth inning highlighted by a three-run home run by Zammarelli. Dupree Hart walked to force in a run in the fifth, while Pastorius’ double in the sixth pulled CofC to within one. Morgan Phillips followed with a hustle, infield single to draw the game even, 7-7.

Pastorius, Phillips and Manzo – the 7-8-9 hitter in the batting order – combined to finish the game 7-for-11 with five runs batted in.

Nathan Helvey got the start on the mound, but lasted just three innings allowing four runs on seven hits. Just Baker earned the win after providing 1.2 innings of scoreless relief. Love earned his 10thsave of the year after tossing the final two frames.

College of Charleston faces No. 2 William & Mary at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday.

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