Chants flex muscle, extend win streak over Liberty to 16

Daniel Bowman and Alex Buccilli each had three hits and three RBI to lead Coastal Carolina to a 7-1 victory at Liberty Saturday afternoon.

The Chanticleers (30-13, 12-3) earn a series sweep over the Flames (33-15, 10-8) and have won five conference series this season.

Coastal Carolina has also won 16 straight over Liberty, dating back to 2008. CCU pitchers Aaron Burke (7-3), Ben Smith and Patrick Corbett would sit down the 13 straight to end the game.

Coastal Carolina got on the scoreboard first, scoring three times in the third. Jacob May reach on a fielder’s choice and stole second. After Ted Blackman drew a walk, Bowman, who was 3-for-5 with two runs scored, poked an RBI single through the right side of the infield, to plate May and Blackman took third on the play. Buccilli then lined an RBI single to center, once again putting Chanticleers on the corners to end the day of LU starter Patrick Eckelbarger. Rich Witten, who was 2-for-2 with an RBI and three walks, hit the first pitch from new Flames’ pitcher Jared Lyons. The senior’s delivered a sharp single under the glove of the diving third baseman to drive in Bowman.

Liberty answered back with a run in the home half. Dalton Sype drew a leadoff walk and, after a wild pitch, scored on Ian Parmley’s single back up the middle.

Coastal immediately regained the momentum in the top of the fourth, scoring three more times to take a 6-1 lead. Justin Creel walked and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Blackman drew a two-out double and Bowman followed with an RBI single. Bowman would take second when the Flames tried to throw out Blackman at third. Buccilli brought Blackman and Bowman home with a two-run single to left-center field.

The Chants kept the pressure on in the sixth, scoring once. Luke Willis walked and Blackman was hit by a pitch. Bowman followed with an RBI single before Buccilli put runners on second and third with a sacrifice bunt. After an intentional walk to load the bases, new LU pitcher Patrick Bankemper induced an inning-ending double play to keep the score at 7-1.

Austin Wallace started, but did not qualify for the win as the junior only pitched 4.1 innings. He allowed four hits and one run with two walks and a strikeout. Burke came out of the bullpen with one out in the fifth. After allowing a leadoff single, Burke would get a double play to end the innings and be on cruise control the rest of the way. Smith pitched the eighth and Corbett the ninth to close the game.

Ecklebarger suffered his first loss of the season, allowing five hits and three runs over 2.1 innings.

Coastal Carolina will have a week off due to final exams, returning to action May 5-6. The Chants will host Campbell in a Saturday doubleheader, starting at 2 pm, and a single game Sunday at 2 pm.

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