The Cleveland State baseball team brought their brooms with them to Cougar Field on Saturday afternoon as they completed a sweep of the Motlow State Bucks in a big Region VII Conference three-game series.
CSCC pounded out 12 hits and got another sterling pitching performance from Brandon Zajac in taking a lopsided 11-4 decision on Friday. The Cougars then swept both ends of a twin bill on Saturday with a 3-1 win in game one and a 5-1 victory in game two to finish the series sweep.
"We needed this sweep badly. We played well all weekend in all phases and got it done," stated Cougar coach Mike Policastro. "We got good pitching, timely hitting and really played well. It starts with pitching. Zajac had a good outing on Friday, Jeb in the first game today and then Thomas. Two complete games today, can't ask for much more than that. DeAndre got hot, Hargrove got hot and a lot of guys got big hits when we needed them."
The Bucks scored the first run of the day in game one on Saturday in the top of the fourth as Clayton Palicki belted a solo homer for a 1-0 lead.
The Cougars came right back in the bottom of the frame as Michael Hargrove put the home team on top with one swing of his big bat, crushing a two-run homer to give his team a 2-1 lead.
CSCC tacked on a much needed insurance run in the bottom of the fifth as they loaded the bases on a single an error and a walk, and Jared Davis picked up an RBI the hard way by getting plunked to force in a run for a 3-1 lead.
That would be all the run support that Jeb Scoggins would need as he finished strong on the hill for the Cougars, going the distance to get the win. Josh Hopkins took the loss for Motlow while Elliott Bush pitched in relief.
The Cougars (22-13, 10-7) finished off the weekend in fine fashion as they jumped out 1-0 lead in their first at-bat. Two walks and a single from Chase Edwards loaded the bases for Dalton Rogers, who plated the run with a sacrifice fly to left field.
CSCC tacked on three more runs in the third as Rogers singled in another run, Cody Hiefnar plated one and Keith Buckhault singled home the third run of the frame for a 4-0 lead.
The Bucks got their only run of the game in the fifth as JC Daily knocked in a run with a single, but the Cougars got that one back in their half of the fifth as Hargrove doubled in another run to seal the win.
Thomas Huddleston scattered five hits as he picked up the win, while Chevis Hoover suffered the loss for the Bucks.
On Friday, the Cougars broke out the big bats late in the game to turn a close affair into a blowout. The Bucks took an early lead in their first turn at the dish with a run as Cole Veazey tripled and scored on a single from Ben Holland for a 1-0 lead.
The Cougars took the lead in the bottom of the second as Dalton Rogers coaxed a walk to start the frame and Stephen Collum got plunked and both eventually came around to score on three wild pitches for a 2-1 Cleveland State lead.
The Rogers and Collum combination hooked up again in the bottom of the sixth as Rogers drew another walk and Collum promptly ripped a one-out RBI double into the gap to push the Cleveland State lead to 3-1.
The Bucks got one of those runs back an inning later on a solo homer from Cory Mitchell, but the Cougars exploded for an eight-run outburst in the bottom of the seventh to put game one of the series on ice in a hurry.
Keith Buckhault took one for the team to get the rally started. Evan Speicher reached on an error and Chase Edwards singled to load the bases. Michael Hargrove took one for the team to force in a run the hard way. The Cougars then played station to station baseball as Cody Hiefnar and Collum each singled in a run, and DeAndre Allen followed with a bases clearing triple and three big RBIs. Edwards added his second hit of the inning to plate Allen, and, just like that, the score had ballooned to an 11-2 Cougar advantage.
The Bucks picked up a pair of runs in the eighth on a pair of walks and a two-run single from Skyler Murphy, but it was too little too late as the Cougars finished game one for the win.
Brandon Zajac tossed seven strong innings allowing only one earned run and three hits to get the win while Derel Chandler pitched the final two frames in relief. Brandon Reynolds took the loss for the Bucks while Logan Dietz pitched in relief.
The Cougars will travel to Kentucky on Wednesday for a pair of games with the University of the Cumberlands and then head to Morristown next weekend for a three-game set with Walters State.