After splitting a doubleheader with the Raiders Saturday, it wasn’t easy but the Cougars came from behind to take the third game of the series on a beautiful springlike Sunday afternoon by a final score of 7-4.
“Considering the way the series started, we are very happy to take two out of three,” said Cougar coach Mike Policastro. “We did what we needed to do to win on Sunday and bounced back nicely after the terrible start on Saturday. They (the Raiders) were fired up after the first game and we did a nice job of forgetting game one and getting back to business. Anytime you can take two out of three in a conference series, you’ll take it.”
The Sunday matinee started with an error and a walk that came back to haunt the Cougars in the bottom of the first inning. Bo Henson doubled in two runners to give the Raiders a quick 2-0 advantage.
The Cougars’ bats came to life in the top of the fourth, erasing the early lead in a hurry with three big runs. Jared Davis got things rolling with a single and Dalton Rogers put two runners in scoring position with a double. Anthony Hunt stepped in and tied the game with a two-run double. Chase Shaw moved Hunt to third with a sacrifice bunt and Hunt trotted home on a sacrifice fly from Michael Allen for a 3-2 Cougars lead.
Jammer Strickland led off the top of the fifth with a frozen rope solo homer over the left-field fence and Zach Janes singled in a run with two outs in the frame to push the Cougars’ lead to 5-2.
The Cougars tacked on another run in the seventh on a sacrifice fly from Davis. The Raiders got that run back in the bottom of the stanza on a walk, a single and a Cougars miscue to make the score 6-3.
The Cougars capitalized on a pair of free passes and an error to start the eighth when Chris Caffrey singled home a run for a 7-3 lead.
Trailing by four runs, the Raiders mounted one last charge in their final turn at the dish in the bottom of the ninth. The Cougars contributed a walk and a hit batsman to the rally. A single by J.T. O’Reel and a ground ball produced a run, but the rally ended there as Raunel Perez was able to slam the door and nail down the win and the series for the Cougars.
Josh Morgan overcame a rocky start and tossed six strong innings to pick up the win for the Cougars (8-4, 2-1) allowing only one hit over that stretch. Matt Roueche and Brandon Leonard also pitched in relief. Brandon Marsonek suffered the loss for the Raiders.
The Cougars will host Georgia Perimeter Tuesday for a pair of non-conference games. Jackson State comes to town for a three-game set this weekend.