Cleveland State Cougars Bounce Back To Take Series At Roane State

Monday, February 24, 2014 - by Bryan Grisham
The first weekend Region VII Conference series for the Cleveland State baseball team didn't start out very well, but the Cougars turned the tide in a hurry and finished strong to take the rubber game of the three-game set on Sunday afternoon at Roane State.

After splitting a doubleheader on Saturday with the Raiders, it wasn't easy, but the Cougars came from behind to take the third game of the series on a beautiful spring-like 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. Any time you can take two out of three in a conference series you'll take it."

The Sunday matinee didn't start very well for the visitors as an error and a walk came back to haunt the Cougars in the bottom of the first inning as Bo Henson doubled in both runners to give the Raiders a quick 2-0 advantage.

The Cougar bats came to life in the top of the fourth as they erased 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 then tied the game with a two-run double. Chase Shaw moved Hunt over to third with a nice sacrifice bunt and Hunt trotted home on a sacrifice fly from Michael Allen for a 3-2 Cougar 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 Cougar lead to 5-2.
The Cougars tacked on another run in the seventh on a sacrifice fly from Davis and the Raiders got that run back in the bottom of the stanza on a walk, a single and a Cougar miscue to make the score 6-3.

The Cougars capitalized on a pair of free passes and an error to start the eighth as 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 and a single by J.T. O'Reel and a ground ball produced a run, but the rally would end 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 on Tuesday for a pair of non-conference games and Jackson State comes to town for a three-game set next weekend.

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