Chants’ rally falls one run short against Illinois, 5-4

ccubase-paezIllinois scored four runs in the fifth innings to take a 5-0 lead and was able to withstand a Coastal Carolina rally to claim a 5-4 decision over the Chanticleers (2-3) Saturday in the fifth game of the 15th Annual Caravelle Resort’s Baseball at the Beach, played at TicketReturn.com Field.

The tournament will continue Sunday and conclude Monday. On Sunday, Connecticut will face Illinois at 10 am while Coastal will face Wichita State at 2 pm. The Chanticleers and Shockers, two of the top 15 winningest programs in NCAA history, will end the tournament on Monday at 4 pm.

Illinois (2-3) got on the scoreboard first. In the top of the second, Jason Goldstein singled and Casey Fletcher drew a two-out walk. Will Krug followed with an RBI double down the left field line for an early 1-0 lead.

The Illini pushed their advantage to five with four runs in the fifth. With the bases loaded, Ryan Nagle lined a three-run double to right field, Nagle would later score on a Casey Fletcher RBI single.

The Chanticleers took advantage of two errors in the home half of the fifth to make the score 5-2. Richard Carte, who was 2-for-4 with two runs scores, singled and Reid Moman followed with a double. An error in the outfield allowed Carter to score and put Moman on third. A flare to third by Anthony Marks was dropped and Moman scored on the play.

Coastal cut into the deficit with a run in the bottom of the seventh to make the score 5-3. Carter singled and Marks reached on a walk. Connor Owings, who had two hits, plated Carter with a two-out, RBI single to center to chase Illinois starter Drasen Johnson. Ronnie Muck kept the score at 5-3 by getting a ground out to end the frame.

Coastal added a tally in the eighth as freshman G.K. Young hit his first collegiate home run, clearing the right field wall to make the score 5-4. The Chants put the tying run on first in the ninth as pinch hitter Jake Kane walked, but Jay Tyler, who struck out the first two batter he faced prior to Kane, induced a ground ball to end the game.

Johnson (1-0) earned the win, scattering seven hits and three runs (one earned) over 6.2 innings. He walked one and struck out five. Jay picked up his second save of the season by working the ninth.

Coastal pitchers combined to strike out 14 batters, but could not overcome five walks and four errors as only three of Illinois’ five runs were earned. Ben Smith fell to 0-2, striking out seven in four-plus innings with six hits, four walks and five runs. The Chanticleer bullpen was solid. Freshman Chase Adkins struck out five over 2.2 scoreless innings and Andrew Beckwith fanned two in two scoreless innings.

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