Ranked fourth nationally, the Chargers took two of the three-game set, winning game one on Friday, 9-0 and the back end of the Saturday double dip, 3-2 while the Cougars pulled off the upset in the middle game on Saturday with a 3-2 win.
The Cougars took an early lead in the first game on Saturday as three straight singles in the bottom of the second produced a run. Michael Hargrove singled and later scored on a single from Colby Harmon for a 1-0 Cougar advantage.
The Chargers jumped on top in the fourth with one swing of T.J. Diffenderfer's bat for a two-run dinger.
The Cougars tied the game in the bottom of the fourth as Damo DeMatteo did the damage with an RBI single.
Cleveland State then scratched out what would be the winning run an inning later as once again three straight singles — from Derek Shugart, Devin Fish and Chase Edwards — loaded the bases. Shugart crossed the plate as Hargrove lifted a run-scoring sacrifice fly to right field to put the home team on top to stay.
Ross Spurgeon went the distance to pick up the win, scattering only five hits along the way. Chris Orphanos took the loss.
In the rubber game of the series, the Cougars once again jumped out front with a pair of runs in their first turn at the dish. A one-out single from Fish started the uprising and a two-out single from Colin Sullivan plated the first run of the contest. A pickoff attempt by the Charger catcher at third base wound up in left field as Hargrove scampered home for a 2-0 Cleveland State lead.
The Chargers managed to tie the game with a pair of runs in the top of the fourth. A free pass, a single and a sacrifice bunt put the visitors in business with runners on second and third for Preston Carter who singled in both runs to knot the game at 2-2.
The Chargers took their first lead of the day an inning later as Diffenderfer squeezed an RBI double inside the third base bag to give his team a 3-2 lead.
That would be all the run support that Charger starter D.W. Whitson would need as he went the distance in allowing only five hits to pick up the win. Ethan Davis suffered the loss for the Cougars.
On Friday, Lucas Laster dominated the game from start to finish as the Charger hurler tossed an almost perfect one-hit, nine inning shutout. Laster allowed only two Cougars to reach base, both coming in the seventh frame as Devin Fish picked up the only Cleveland State hit with a single and Hargrove reached on an error.
The Chargers took the lead with four in the fourth as Derrick Armstrong and Lucas Pippenger knocked in a pair of runs each. Armstrong added an RBI double in the sixth and the visitors tacked on three more in the ninth which would be more than enough for Laster as he secured game one of the series.
Laster got the win while Jared Burton (1-4) took the loss for the Cougars. Hunter Hammond, Tyler Sexton and Zach Taylor all pitched in relief.
The Cougars will now turn their attention to the Region VII Conference Tournament to be held at Chattanooga State starting May 5.