Chants rally past Wolfpack

Coastal Carolina’s Justin Creel went 3-for-3 and drew a bases loaded walk, while four pitchers combined to pitch six scoreless innings to allow the Chanticleers (3-3) to claim a 3-2 come-from-behind win over North Carolina State (5-2) Sunday afternoon in the final game of the 13th Annual Caravelle Resort’s Baseball at the Beach at BB&T Coastal Field.

Both teams only managed six hits and just two of the five runs scored in the game were earned as NC State committed two errors and the Chants had one. The lack of offense was due to the impressive pitching performances by both squads.

First, Coastal Carolina’s five pitchers only walked one Wolfpack batter and neither of NC State’s runs were earned. CCU freshman starter Ben Smith allowed three hits and two unearned runs over three complete with a walk and two strike outs. Devin Bradley pitched the next three innings, retiring all nine batters he faced in order with a strike out. Junior Aaron Burke worked the next 1.2 innings and would be credited with the win, improving to 1-0 and earning his first win as a Chanticleer. He allowed two hits and struck out one. Freshman Javier Reynoso entered the game with two outs and a runner on second in the eighth, striking out the lone batter he faced. Ryan Connolly earned his second save of the weekend, allowing one hit while getting a ground out and two fly outs to end the game.

On the other side, Carlos Rodon, perhaps the nation’s top freshman, struck out 10 Chanticleers over four innings. Meaning, of the 16 outs and 18 batters faced, Rodon fanned 10. Ethan Ogburn (1-1) came out to pitch the final four innings, striking out seven. Since 1999, 17 strike outs by CCU batters is a single game record. However, the two Wolfpack pitchers combined to walk four and hit two Chanticleers.

The Wolfpack took advantage of an Chanticleer error to take an early 2-0 lead. With one out in the third, Trea Turner reached on a throwing error. After a walk to Brett Austin and a double steal by Turner and Austin, Andrew Ciencin plated Turner with a sacrifice fly to right. Danny Canela followed with an RBI single to center.

Coastal cut its deficit in half, scoring one in the fourth. Rich Witten hit a leadoff single, Tucker Frawley was hit by a pitch and Daniel Bowman hit an infield hit to load the bases. After a pair of strikeouts, Justin Creel drew an RBI walk to force home Witten. Rodon limited the damage by getting a strikeout to end the inning.

The Chants scored twice to take a 3-2 lead in the seventh. Creel delivered a leadoff single and pinch hitter Keith Picconi walked. After a sacrifice bunt moved the two runners up 90 feet, Ted Blackman walked to load the bases. NC State looked to escape unscathed as Ogburn got Rich Witten to hit into an apparent double play. However, after getting the out at second, a throwing error allowed Creel and Picconi to score.

The tournament finale was the third one-run game of the day, Virginia Tech defeating Iowa 4-3 and George Mason beating West Virginia 1-0 earlier Sunday.

Coastal Carolina will return to action next weekend, Mar. 2-4, hosting St. John’s, Illinois and Pittsburgh in the Coastal Carolina Invitational, played primarily at CCU’s Watson Stadium/Vrooman Field.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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