Chants split doubleheader with Bulldogs to take series

Alex Buccilli and Daniel Bowman each had three hits and Justin Creel drove in three to lead #28 Coastal Carolina to an 11-4 win in the first game of a Saturday doubleheader at Gardner-Webb.

In game two, the Bulldogs scored three in the first and three in the eighth to claim a 7-3 victory at Moss Stadium.

Coastal Carolina is now 20-10 on the season, 4-2 in Big South play, while Gardner-Webb is 17-16, 3-6. While the Chanticleers won the weekend series, two games to one, the win by the Bulldogs in game two Saturday was the first by Gardner-Webb in 13 tries. Coastal was 10-0 all-time versus GWU prior to the weekend and won the first games of this weekend’s series.

While the offense was clicking in game one, Chanticleer starter Austin Wallace (2-0) pitched a career-high six innings and struck out five with no walks. He did allow seven hits and four runs, but only three were earned. Ryan Connolly worked the final three innings, scattering four hits, to get his sixth save of the season.

After leaving the bases loaded and not scoring in the first inning, Coastal took advantage of two errors and a home run to score six runs in the second. Chris Suseck and Jacob May walked before Creel had an RBI single to bring home Suseck. Then, with two outs, Buccilli singled to center to plate May. Two errors on the play also allowed Creel and Buccilli to score. Bowman followed with a home run to left field, giving the senior four round trippers on the year and 44 for his career. Tucker Frawley keep the inning alive with a walk before he stole second and scored on Ted Blackman’s single.

Gardner-Webb  came back to score three in the home half. Scott Coleman had a leadoff single and Brad Collins reached on an error. After a sacrifice bunt, Danny Yelverton delivered a sacrifice fly while Henry Rundio and Zeke Blanton had back-to-back RBI hits.

Coastal pushed its advantage to 7-3 in the sixth. After three walks, one being intentional, Frawley hit a pop fly to shallow left, but it was deep enough to score Creel.

After Wallace sat down 10 straight from one out in the the third inning until two outs in the sixth, Collins hit a triple to the right-center field wall and Ryan Hodge followed with an infield single to make the score 7-4.

To start the seventh, Will Canady walked Suseck and hit Pruett with a pitch. After a sacrifice bunt, Creel welcomed new GWU pitcher Matt Liedberg with a two-run single. The next inning, the Chants went up 10-4. Frawley reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second and scored on an RBU single by Pruett.

In the ninth, Coastal turned to its bench and they responded. Luke Willis had a leadoff single and Keith Picconi executed a hit and run to put runners on the corners. Rich Witten brought home Willis with a sacrifice fly to center to provide the 11-4 final.

Conner Scarborough (2-4) suffered the loss, allowing eight hits, six runs and four walks over 4.2 innings.

In game two, Gardner-Webb took its first lead of the series, scoring thre in the first inning. Zeke Blanto and Ryan Hodge drew leadoff walks and John Harris followed with an RBI single, leaving runners on the corners. Dusty Quattlebaum made it consecutive hits with an RBI double, ending the day for starter Patrick Corbett (2-2). Aaron McFarland made it 3-0 with a sacrifice fly to left field.

From that point, Ryan Connolly and Ben Smith held the Bulldogs in check until the bottom of the sixth when Collins had a leadoff double and GWU put runners on the corners Rundio reached on fielder’s choice error. After an out and a wild pitch put runners on second and third, Austin Ker came out of the CCU bullpen to face Hodge, who executed a suicide squeeze and put Gardner-Webb up 4-0. The run scoring is the first inherited runner Kerr has allowed to score since his first outing (coming into the Virginia game with the bases loaded), a span of 17 runners he left stranded.

Coastal got on the board in the seventh, cutting its lead in half 4-2. Gilliam had a leadoff double and Willis followed with a single. Pruett plated Gilliam with an RBI fielder’s choice. Willis would be retired at third on a fielder’s choice, but May loaded the bases with a single to left. After GWU pitcher Adam Izokovic walked home Buccilli to force home Pruett, he got a strikeout and centerfielder Alex Newman made a diving catch on a Frawley line drive to end the inning.

Gardner-Webb scored three in the eighth to take a 7-2 advantage. With two out and one one – who reached by error, Blanton walked and Hodge loaded the bases with an infield single. John Harris reached on an infield single, scoring one with an error allowing a second run home. Quattlebaum then reached on a check swing single to bring home the seventh run.

Bulldog starter Beau Hilton improved to 4-0, allowing six hits and four runs over 6.1 innings. Izokovic earned his fifth save of the season.

Corbett suffered the loss, allowing three runs on two hits with two walks. Connolly pitched a scoreless 1.2 innings, allowing one hit and fanning two. Smith surrendered three hits over 3.2 innings, allowing one unearned run. While Burke, who ranks second in the NCAA in ERA, had three runs charged to him, all were unearned to lower his ERA to 0.59.

Offensively for Coastal in game two, Creel and Gilliam had two hits.

Coastal Carolina will end its nine-game road swing with a game at UNC Wilmington Tuesday. First pitch is set for 6 pm. Coastal will return to Watson Stadium/Vrooman Field Wednesday, hosting The Citadel at 6 pm.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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