The Cleveland State baseball team dodged the raindrops on Friday and Saturday at Cougar Field just long enough to notch three big Region VII Conference wins over the Roane State Raiders. The Cougars took both ends of a twinbill Friday afternoon in extra innings to take game one 3-2 then added a 5-1 decision in the second game.
CSCC finished the sweep in a big way Saturday taking advantage of a great pitching effort from former Cleveland Blue Raider Jeb Scoggins to finish the series sweep by a final talley of 6-2. The Cougars added a 13 hit explosion Saturday to their total after gathering 16 in the two games on Friday.
The Cougars jumped out to an early lead in the Saturday afternoon matinee with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first. Keith Buckhault singled and Evan Speicher followed with a double. Both scored on a sacrifice fly by Chase Edwards and an infield roller from Jared Davis giving the Cougars a lead.
The home team doubled its lead in the third after Edwards singled and trotted home when Dalton Rogers dialed long distance for a two-run dinger and a 4-0 lead.
The Cougars tacked on single runs in the sixth and the eighth with Buckhault singling in a run and DeAndre Allen doubling in another to secure the win.
The Raiders avoided the shutout with a pair of runs in the eighth when a hit batter and an error set up an RBI double from Logan Jenkins.
Scoggins turned in an outstanding pitching performance for the Cougars (16-11, 6-6), taking a no-hitter into the fifth inning and allowing only four hits over his eight innings of work. Bobby Towne nailed down the sweep with a perfect ninth inning. Logan Hicks suffered the loss for Roane State.
"It starts with pitching and we had good pitching all weekend long," explained Cougar coach Mike Policastro. "It was good to get a sweep and especially at home. This gets us back to .500 and puts us in the middle of the pack in the conference race and that's what we want is to be in position to get a playoff spot going down the stretch.
"Zajac did a good job in game one and we finally found a way to win it in extra innings, Thomas Huddleston was outstanding in game two on Friday and then Jeb today, couldn't ask much more from him," the coach continued. "We swung the bats better this weekend, not great, but better. We picked up a couple of home runs and some two out hits that were big. When you're not hitting much, those two-out hits can really give you some momentum and we were able to score enough to get the sweep."
On Friday, the Cougars took care of business with a sweep of a doubleheader. But, it was not easy as game one turning from a seven inning affair into an 11 inning marathon. The Raiders put a single run on the board in the fifth and sixth to take an early lead after Shane Salley drew a walk with the bases full of Raiders in the fifth while a Cougar miscue led to an RBI single from Alex Dapkus who plated the second run.
The Cougars picked up a run in the bottom of the fifth when Jared Davis knocked in a run then managed to tie the game in their last turn at the plate. Speicher doubled to start the rally, Edwards singled him to third and the tying run crossed on a groundout from Hiefnar.
Runs and base runners were few and far between for the next several innings until the Cougars mounted a rally in the bottom of the 11th. Buckhault reached first on an errant throw to start the frame and a nice sacrifice bunt by Speicher moved him up a base. Chase Edwards then lined a single into the outfield and Buckhault narrowly beat the throw home for the winning run and a 3-2 Cougar win.
Brandon Zajac started the game for the Cougars pitching six strong innings and fanning eight. Derek Chandler took over in relief and Townes allowed only one hit and tossed the final two innings to get the win. Kenzie Goins tossed the final five innings in relief for the Raiders but took the loss.
The Raiders jumped on top again in game two with a run in their first turn at the dish as Salley singled in the run for a 1-0 lead. The Cougars got that run back plus one as Zach Janes doubled in a run in the second and Jared Davis put the home team on top with an RBI in the third for a 2-1 lead.
The Score remained tight until the sixth when the Cougars pushed across three big insurance runs. Jared Davis started the frame with a two-run homer into the tennis courts beyond the right field fence and Zanes singled in another run to extend the lead to 5-2.
That would be all the run support that Thomas Huddleston needed as he went the distance scattering four hits along the way to get the win for the Cougars. Isaac Carr took the loss for the Raiders.
The Cougars will host West Georgia Tech Tuesday and then hit the road for a weekend series at Volunteer State.