Charleston Southern senior left-hander Tory Schroff penned 7.0 innings of one-run ball and Chase Shelton cracked two RBI singles to lead the Bucs over Longwood, 2-1, in Friday night's Big South Conference opener at Bolding Stadium.
CSU (14-5, 1-0 BSC) entered Big South play leading the league in wins thanks in part to a 5-1 record in games decided by two runs or less. Stuart Lake's squad delivered again in that department to capture the series opener against Longwood (9-10, 0-1 BSC), as Shelton's run-scoring singles in the third and fifth innings were enough to back up an outstanding outing from Schroff (2-0). CSU's 14-5 start is the program's best since the 1980's.
CSU left three men on base over the first two innings against Longwood ace Aaron Myers (3-1), but broke through to get on the scoreboard in the third. Alex Tomasovich worked a leadoff walk and moved up to second on Bobby Ison's sacrifice bunt. Shelton ushered Tomasovich home a batter later, driving a single to right field for a 1-0 Bucs lead.
Schroff was in control from the outset as he again showcased the form that made him a second-team all-conference selection last year. He retired 10 of the first 11 men he faced, and did not surrender a hit until Kyril Washington's one-out single in the fourth. Schroff struck out five over 7.0 innings of work, yielding just one run on six hits and a walk.
Longwood's Myers was excellent as well, allowing only two runs on nine hits and a walk while punching out ten. The Bucs' combo of Tomasovich and Shelton proved tough to contain, though, as they teamed to push CSU ahead, 2-0, in the fifth.
Tomasovich again set the table for Shelton, this time with an opposite field single. Following Ison's bunt single, Shelton laced a RBI single back through the box to bring Tomasovich across the plate for the second time in three innings.
Longwood was able to push across a two-out run against Schroff in the seventh, his final inning of work. Scott Burkett singled to center and eventually came around to score when Mac McCafferty stroked an RBI single up the middle. Schroff recovered to strike out C.J. Roth to keep CSU in front, 2-1, however, and Joe Pistacchio fanned two in a 1-2-3 eighth inning.
The Bucs were unable to add insurance against Myers and Lancers' reliever Mitchell Kuebbing, but did not need it. CSU junior right-hander Austin Weekley registered his fifth save by working through the 4-5-6 of the Longwood order with ease, forcing a pair groundouts before striking out Burkett to seal the win.
CSU and Longwood play the second game of the three-game series Saturday at 4 p.m. as the Bucs look to go ten games over the .500 mark. The Bucs' starting pitcher is to be announced, while Longwood will send left-hander Brandon Vick to the mound.