Chants cash in on 16 free passes to beat Bulldogs

Coastal Carolina was out-hit 5-4, but capitalized on 12 walks – including a school record five by Ted Blackman – and four hit by pitches to claim a 7-1 victory over UNC Asheville in the opening game of a three game series Friday afternoon at Pelicans Ballpark.

The Chanticleers improve to 30-18 overall, 14-5 Big South while the Bulldogs fall to 15-32, 3-15. The teams will meet for game two of the series on Saturday at Noon. Prior to the game Coastal Carolina will honor its 2013 seniors, including Blackman, Alex Buccilli, Aaron Burke, Ryan Connolly, Justin Creel and Josh Powell.

Two of CCU’s four hits produced four runs, including a two-run triple by Alex Buccilli in the first inning and a two=run double by Connor Owings in the seventh. Jake Kane had Coastal’s other two hits and he drove in two runners as well.

Coastal Carolina jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Blackman and Jacob May drew leadoff walks and Buccilli plated the two with a two-run triple. Kane followed with an RBI ground out.

In the top of the fifth, Coastal was clinging to a 3-0 lead. The Bulldogs, holding a 2-1 advantage in hits to that point, loaded the bases with two outs. However, CCU starter Ben Smith (4-2) ran the count full to Hunter Bryant before recording a strikeout to end the threat.

Smith walked six over five scoreless innings, but only surrendered two hits and he struck out five.

Coastal added a run in the sixth. Kane hit a leadoff double, Colin Hering was hit by a pitch and Owings drew a one-out walk to load the bases. The Bulldogs called Nick Schavone from the bullpen. He got one strikeout before walking Blackman – his fourth free pass of the game – to force home a run.

The Chanticleers tacked on two more runs in the seventh to take a 6-0 lead. With the bases loaded, Owings s’ drive to right-center field bounced over the wall for a two-run, ground-rule double.

Coastal capped its scoring in the eighth. Blackman drew his fifth walk to start the home half to set a CCU single-game record. He worked his way to third after two ground outs and scored on Kane’s RBI single.

In the ninth, Asheville loaded the bases with one out. Phillip Treadway walked while Kyle Towes and Tommy Houmard, who had two hits, singled. Robert McIntosh plated Treadway with an RBI groundout.

Patrick Corbett worked the sixth and seventh innings, allowing one hit and getting three strikeouts, and Austin Kerr struck out two of the three batters faced in the eighth. Aaron Burke wrapped up the contest.

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