Bowman, Connolly power Chants past Wolverines

Ryan Connolly pitched a career-high 6.2 innings in relief, while Daniel Bowman and Rich Witten each delivered three hits to give #29 Coastal Carolina (33-14) a 6-1 win at Michigan (19-29) Tuesday night at the Wilpon Complex.

Connolly improves to 3-2 as he struck out a season-high six while scattering four hits and one walk. Connolly’s previous long came his freshman year when he pitched 4.1 innings and struck out a career-high seven versus The Citadel.

Coastal Carolina took an early 2-0 lead. With two outs in the third inning, Jacob May lined a triple to left center field. Bowman, who had doubled in his first at bat, singled to left field to bring home May. Two pitches later, Witten doubled off the left field wall to drive in Bowman.

Michigan answered with a run in the home half. Cole Martin had a leadoff single and moved to third on Patrick Biondi’s double. CCU starter Ben Smith walked Michael O’Neill to load the bases and mark the end of his day as he was on a pitch limit. Ryan Connolly came out of the bullpen and got a ground out, allowing Martin to score. Connolly would limit the damage by getting Coley Crank to fly out and end the inning.

Coastal loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth but could only score once. Sloan Gilliam singled, Justin Creel had a bunt single and Brian Pruett was hit by a pitch. New Michigan pitcher Kyle Clark got a double play, allowing Gilliam to score, and a strikeout.

The Chants extended their advantage to 5-1 in the sixth. Pruett reached on a one-out single and moved third on Ted Blackman’s hit-and-run single. After a wild pitch moved Blackman to second, May hit a deep fly ball to center, bring Pruett home and advancing Blackman to third on the sacrifice fly. Witten welcomed new pitcher Jay Perry with an RBI single.

In the eighth, Bowman used his speed to create a double, mirroring his double in the first inning. In both cases, he hit the ball in the gap, but sprinted out of the box to turn what most would settle for a single into a double. The hustle paid off as Witten followed with a single, which allowed Bowman to score to give Coastal a 6-1 lead.

With the two runs scored, Bowman now has 198 for his career moving to sixth (tied) on the Big South all-time list. With three hits, Bowman now has 288, moving into a tie for eighth on the Big South career list. Also, with five total bases Tuesday, Bowman, already the CCU career leader, now has 500 total bases to rank third on the Big South all-time list.

Coastal Carolina and Michigan will meet again Wednesday. First pitch is set for 6 pm.

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