Mauldin Alumn Jackson Hits Game-Winner For Citadel -

Mauldin Alumn Jackson Hits Game-Winner For Citadel

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SoCon Release

Mauldin High alumn Joe Jackson hit a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to cap a dramatic opening game and lift fourth-seeded The Citadel past No. 5 seed Appalachian State 6-5 at the Southern Conference Baseball Championship at Fluor Field on Wednesday.


Jackson, from nearby Mauldin, S.C., took Taylor Thurber's 0-1 offering out to left-center to give the Bulldogs (33-24) the win after the Mountaineers (28-23) had staged an impressive rally to tie the game in the top half of the inning.


Trailing 5-3 entering the ninth, Appalachian State got a one-out walk from Preston Troutman to get the rally going. One out later, Hector Crespo sent the first pitch he saw from Bulldog closer Skylar Hunter (3-4) out to left-center to give the Mountaineers life and knot the game at 5. Appalachian State had a chance for more, but after Noah Holmes' double, pinch-runner Brandon Burris was thrown out at the plate trying to score from second on Will Callaway's infield single.


Thurber (3-2) got a four-pitch strikeout for the first out of the bottom of the ninth before Jackson ended the game.


The Citadel never trailed in the contest. The Bulldogs scored a quick run in the bottom of the first inning, with Bo Thompson's groundout driving in Hughston Armstrong from third.


The Mountaineers answered with a run in the top of the second to tie the contest, as Michael Pierson stroked a single through the right side to score SoCon Freshman of the Year Jaylin Davis from second.


The Bulldogs pulled back in front in the third inning, with Drew DeKerlegand smoking a bases-clearing triple off the wall in left-center to make it a 4-1 contest. DeKerlegand's hit capped a two-out rally, as Jackson and Thompson drew walks and Tyler Griffin was hit by a pitch to load the bases with two down ahead of DeKerlegand.


Once again, the Mountaineers quickly found an answer. Pierson led off the top of the fourth with a solo homer to left, his second of the season, and Crespo later added a sacrifice fly to score William Head and make it 4-3 in The Citadel's favor.


The Citadel added another run in the seventh on Griffin's sacrifice fly.


Both starters were roughed up a bit, as The Citadel's Austin Pritcher, the SoCon Pitcher of the Year, didn't make it through the fifth inning and Appalachian State's Jamie Nunn, the other first-team All-SoCon starter, surrendered five runs in six innings of work.


The bullpens came to the rescue until the ninth, with Appalachian State's Jeffrey Springs and Thurber working 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief until Jackson's shot, and The Citadel's Ross White, Zach Sherrill, David Rivera and Hunter combining for four scoreless frames before Crespo's blast tied it.


Jackson reached base in all five of his plate appearances, going 2-for-2 with a double, homer and three walks to pace The Citadel at the plate.


Callaway was 3-for-5 for Appalachian State.


The Mountaineers will face the loser of Western Carolina-Samford game on Thursday at 10 a.m., while The Citadel awaits the winner at either 5 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. Thursday, depending on the outcome of Wednesday's Elon-Furman game.



Wednesday, May 22

(Fluor Field, Greenville, S.C.)

Game 1: #4 The Citadel 6, #5 Appalachian State 5

Game 2: #1 Western Carolina vs. #8 Samford, 1:30 p.m.

Game 3: #3 Elon vs. #6 Furman, 5 p.m.

Game 4: #2 College of Charleston vs. #7 Georgia Southern, 8:30 p.m.


Thursday, May 23

(Fluor Field, Greenville, S.C.)

Game 5: #5 Appalachian State vs. Loser Game 2, 10 a.m.

Game 6: Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4, 1:30 p.m.

Game 7: #4 The Citadel vs. Winner Game 2, 5 p.m. (or 8:30 p.m. if Furman wins Wednesday)

Game 8: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, 8:30 p.m. (or 5 p.m. if Furman wins Wednesday)


Friday, May 24

(Fluor Field, Greenville, S.C.)

Game 9: Loser Game 7 vs. Winner Game 5, 3 p.m.

Game 10: Loser Game 8 vs. Winner Game 6, 7 p.m.


Saturday, May 25

(Fluor Field, Greenville, S.C.)

Game 11: Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 9, 10 a.m.

Game 12: Winner Game 8 vs. Winner Game 10, 1:30 p.m.

^Game 13: Loser Game 11 vs. Winner Game 11, 5 p.m.

^Game 14: Loser Game 12 vs. Winner Game 12, 8:30 p.m.


Sunday, May 26

(Fluor Field, Greenville, S.C.)

Game 15: Championship game (ESPN3), 2 p.m.


All times Eastern

^ If necessary. If Game 13 is not necessary, Game 14 will begin approximately 40 minutes after the conclusion of Game 12.

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