Griffin's Early Homer, Strong Work on Mound Lifts The Citadel Past Nebraska
CHARLESTON, SC -
Tyler Griffin slammed a three-run homer in the first inning to stake The Citadel to a 4-0 lead, and the Bulldogs never looked back in a 6-3 victory over Nebraska in the opener of a three-game series Friday at Riley Park.
The Citadel has won the first three games of an eight-game homestand to even its record at 5-5 while Nebraska dropped to 4-4. The game was only the second in the all-time between the teams, with the Bulldogs taking both at Riley Park including an 8-5 victory in 2006 when the Huskers were ranked No. 3 in the nation.
The series with Nebraska continues a difficult opening slate for The Citadel as the Huskers are already the seventh team from a BCS power conference that the Bulldogs have played in the first three weeks. The Citadel improved to 3-4 in such games, including victories over Virginia Tech and Louisville during the opening weekend.
The first five Bulldogs reached in the opening frame against Nebraska starter Christian DeLeon. Mason Davissingled and stole second, his ninth of the season in as many attempts. Singles by Hughston Armstrong andBo Thompson followed, with Thompson driving in Davis for his 10th RBI in 10 games.
Griffin, who entered the game struggling at just .179 with two RBI, connected on the first offering he saw from DeLeon and sent a towering fly ball over the wall in right. The home run was Griffin's first of the season and 18th of his career.
DeLeon (1-1) was solid after the big Citadel first, holding the Bulldogs to only one hit over the next four innings. He allowed a pair of singles in the sixth and worked a 1-2-3 seventh before leaving after Thompson singled to start a two-run eighth.
The trio of Logan Cribb, Zach Sherrill and Skylar Hunter made the early four-run cushion stand up. Cribb (1-1) worked the first 6 2/3 innings and allowed five hits and three runs while tying his career high with eight strikeouts. Nebraska scored twice off Cribb in the second on two doubles and a single before the senior left hander settled down.
Cribb retired eight in a row and 15 of the next 16 batters, striking out six during that span. He gave way to Sherrill after Austin Darby doubled in a run with two outs in the seventh that trimmed The Citadel lead to 4-3.
Sherrill fanned Michael Pritchard with the tying run in scoring position and then retired the side in order in the eighth including his second strikeout of the night to keep The Citadel in front. The appearance was the 84th of Sherrill's career, moving him into a tie for 11th with Drew Mahaffey in school history.
The Bulldogs tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth on a bases loaded walk toJohnathan Stokes and a sacrifice fly by Bailey Rush. Hunter then retired all three Huskers he faced in the ninth to record his third save of the year.
The Citadel will look to clinch the series tomorrow at 2 p.m. before the teams wrap up the three-game set Sunday at noon.