The Cleveland State baseball team took full advantage of the beautiful sunny afternoon on Wednesday at Cougar Field, pounding out 22 hits on their way to sweeping a doubleheader from the Georgia Highlands Chargers, 9-3 in game one and 12-2 in game two.
Jake Wright belted a solo homer to lead off the bottom of the second inning to help the Cougars jump out front with three runs in game one. Chris Caffrey lifted a fly ball to right field to plate a run while Janson Roberson added a run with a ground ball for the quick 3-0 lead.
The visitors got two runs back in the top of the third when an error and a double put runners on second and third. Both crossed home on groundouts, cutting the lead to 3-2.
Cleveland State put game one on ice in the bottom of the fourth with a five run outburst. Jared Davis and Caffrey started the uprising with a single and a walk and each moved up a base on a sacrifice bunt from Roberson. Zach Janes plated both runs with a single, Keith Buckhault chipped in with a sacrifice fly and Dalton Rogers and Wright knocked in a run each with a hit apiece to push the Cougars’ lead to 8-2.
Each team tacked on a run in their last at bat while the Cougars extinguished a fire in the top of the seventh to secure the win.
Jordan Whitmire went the distance for the Cougars (15-15) scattering seven hits and allowing only one earned run while striking out six to pick up the win. Greg Gerard also pitched all seven innings in defeat for the Chargers.
The Chargers struck first in game two with a pair of runs in the top of the second inning when a pair of walks came back to haunt the Cougars. Khari Anderson singled in both runs for a 2-0 lead.
The Cougars got the runs back in their half of the second. Chase Shaw singled and Caffrey drew a free pass to start the rally. A sacrifice bunt by Cole Baxley moved the runners up a base in front of a sacrifice fly from Roberson that plated one run. The other crossed on a two-out infield single from Janes to knot the game at 2-2.
The Cleveland State bats went back to work an inning later when they sent nine men to the plate with five circling the bases. A double from Buckhault, a single by Wright and a walk loaded the bases. Caffrey added two more marks to his RBI totals with a single, while Roberson plated two runs with a grounder that got through the Highlands infield. Janes finished the five-spot with a sacrifice to deep right field for a 7-2 lead.
Buckhault dialed long distance with a shot into the pine trees beyond the left-field fence to lead off the bottom of the fourth inning. Caffrey stayed red hot by doubling in another run while Baxley followed suit with a double of his own. Roberson knocked in another run and Michael Allen drew a walk with the bases full of Cougars to finish the rally and give the home team a 12-2 advantage.
Raunel Perez started on the mound for the Cougars while Kegan Frederick picked up the win allowing no hits in his three innings of relief. Ed Lott took the loss for the Chargers with Jeremy Brown pitching in relief.
The Cougars will travel to the far reaches of Tennessee for a three-game weekend series with the Southwest Tennessee Saluqis in Jackson Saturday and Sunday.