Chants win opener; tourney schedule altered for weather

For the seventh consecutive season, the 35th-ranked Coastal Carolina claimed a victory in its season opener, defeating defending Colonial Athletic Association champion and 2011 NCAA Chapel Hill Regional finalist James Madison, 7-1, Friday night before an overflow crowd of 1,227 in the second game of the Caravelle Resort Tournament at Watson Stadium/Vrooman Field.

The rest of the tournament schedule has been altered due to the threat of inclement weather.

On Saturday, the James Madison and Boston College will now start at 10 am with the CCU-Virginia showdown now set to start at 2 pm or 40 minutes after the conclusion of game one. If the weather continues to be advantageous, Coastal will then turn immediately around and face Boston College Saturday night. After playing Coastal, Virginia will make the short trip to Myrtle Beach’s BB&T Coastal Field to face James Madison Saturday evening.

For the CCU-JMU game, sophomore Tyler Herb (1-0) earned his first collegiate win, scattering seven hits and allowing one run over seven innings. He struck out four and did not walk a batter. Freshman Chris Harrison pitched the final two innings, allowing four hits and fanning two.

Offensively, Bryce Dial led the way with two hits and two runs, delivering an RBI triple. Jacob May added two runs and a stolen base.

Coastal Carolina opened the scoring with a tally in the bottom of the second. Dial hit a one-out single down the left-field line, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on Tucker Frawley’s RBI single. The Chants would load the bases but Dukes’ pitcher Sean Tierney (0-1) got a strike outs to end the threat.

James Madison tied the game at 1-1 in the top of the fourth. Connor Brown had an infield hit to third and would advance to third on a pair of ground outs. Bradley Shaban singled through the left side of the infield, plating Brown.

In the fifth, Coastal pushed four runs across the plate to take a 5-1 lead. May had a one-out double and Rich Witten walked. May and Witten stolen third and second, respectively, with May scoring on the play due to a throwing error. Sloan Gilliam followed with an RBI single. Gilliam would score on an RBI triple by Dial. After a walk to Tucker Frawley put runners on the corners, Dial scored on a throwing error by Michael Howerton attempting pick off at first.

The Chants took advantage of a balk and an error to score two more in the sixth, providing what proved to be the final margin of 7-1. Ted Blackman singled and moved to second on a May walk.  Blackman advanced to third on a fly out and scored on a balk, which put May on second. Daniel Bowman grounded out, but a JMU error allowed May to score from second.

For the Dukes, Shaban was 3-for-4, driving in the lone run, while Johnny Bladel, Ty McFarland and Casey Goss each added two hits. Tierney suffered the loss, allowing four hits, four runs and four walks over 4.1 innings.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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