MT. PLEASANT, S.C. - College of Charleston freshman pitcher Nathan Helvey made a quality start and led the Cougars to a 4-1 win in his first career appearance.
A native of Fort Mill, S.C., Helvey (1-0) went six innings and allowed just one run on three hits, striking out two and walking one. The win gave College of Charleston (2-1) the series win over Xavier (1-2), marking the fifth straight season that head coach Monte Lee has won the season-opening series.
Junior Brandon Murray hit a solo home run in the third inning, as he finished with two hits and two runs. Sophomore Gunnar Heidt launched two doubles in the game, the second one coming in the seventh inning and driving in Bradley Goodson for an insurance run.
The CofC bullpen allowed just two hits in three innings with Taylor Alvarez and Player Loving pitching two shutout innings in the seventh and eighth innings, and senior Dre Watts earned his second save with a two-strikeout ninth inning.
"I was really pleased with our pitching staff for the entire weekend," head coach Monte Lee said. "We didn't give up any big innings and that is always a good thing for a staff. Brandon Murray and Gunnar Heidt had big games for us at the plate."
Xavier starter Tyler Koors (0-1) picked up the loss for the Musketeers, allowing three runs on five hits through the first six innings. Tres Eberhardt picked up two hits for Xavier, while Jacob Bodner drove in the visitors' only run with an RBI double in the second inning.
CofC scored two runs in the first inning with a two-out rally helped by two errors from Xavier second baseman Bodner. Murray scored a run after Bodner dropped a pop fly, and then Tyler Jackson singled up the middle to score Brandon Glazer.
Bodner helped Xavier get one run back in the second inning, but Murray countered with a solo homer in the bottom of the third to give CofC a 3-1 lead.
Xavier threatened to tie the game in the seventh inning, loading the bases with one out against Alvarez. However, the sophomore pitcher induced leadoff hitter Mark Elwell to ground right back to him for a 1-2-3 inning-ending double play.
Heidt doubled in Goodson with two outs and two strikes in the bottom of the seventh inning to add an insurance run for the Cougar bullpen.
College of Charleston will travel up the road on Tuesday afternoon for an intra-county rivalry game against Charleston Southern. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.