Frawley backs up honor by leading Chants past VMI

On a day when Coastal Carolina catcher Tucker Frawley was named to the prestigious Johnny Bench Award Watch List, the senior went 3-for-4 with an RBI and threw out two base runners to help the Chanticleers defeat VMI  3-2 on Friday night.

Coastal (22-11, 5-2 Big South) improves to 20-7 in Big South home openers and has won 14 straight over the Keydets (11-23, 4-9).

Frawley is the third Chanticleer to make the Johnny Bench Award Watch List, given annually to the nation’s top collegiate catcher by the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission. Previous CCU honorees Dock Doyle and Jose Iglesias were one of three finalists for the award in 2008 and 2010, respectively.

While Frawley was producing at the plate, Josh Conway (4-1) was in the midst of a tight pitching duel with VMI’s Jeremy Brown (0-5). Also, not to lost in the shuffle, Coastal’s Daniel Bowman delivered what proved to be the game-winning RBI in the second inning, which gave the senior 187 career RBI to take sole possession of first place on the school’s all-time list.

Coastal Carolina began the scoring as it loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the first as Alex Buccilli singled, Bowman reached on an error and Rich Witten singled. Tucker Frawley followed with an RBI single to right, keeping the bases loaded. Ted Blackman gave Coastal a 2-0 lead with a sacrifice fly to left field. Buccilli and Bowman both finished the night with two hits.

In the second, Brian Pruett had a leadoff double and Jacob May walked. Two batters later and with two outs, Bowman hit a bloop single to center to drive home Pruett to give CCU a 3-0 advantage and sit Bowman atop the school’s RBI leaderboard by himself.

From that point, VMI’s Brown did not allow another run, but it was all CCU would need. Conway faced the minimum batter through 2.2 innings before loading the bases with two singles and a walk.

After leaving the bases loaded in the third, VMI broke through with two runs in the fourth inning to make the score 3-2. Jacob Morley and Berkley Hawkins had leadoff singles. After a strikeout, Cameron Walter executed a hit-and-run, driving in Morley and putting runners on first and third. Matt Winn followed with a ground out. Coastal attempted to turn a double play, but only got one out allowing Hawkins to score on the play.

Conway would then settle down and face the minimum amount of batter over his last three innings pitched. He would surrender a leadoff walk in the fifth, but Frawley gunned him on a steal attempt, and a walk in the seventh, but he would be erased on a double play.

Overall, Conway allowed five hits, two runs and four walks over seven complete while tying a season high with 10 strikeouts.

In the eighth, VMI leadoff hitter Rob Dickinson started the frame with a single off Austin Kerr, but Dickinson would be erased by Frawley on a steal attempt. Aaron Burke then came out the bullpen and worked the final two innings to pick up his sixth save of the season. He did not allow a hit with a walk and two strikeouts.

Brown, who struck out eight, was the tough-luck loser. He scattered nine hits and walked just one, with only one of his three runs being earned. Dickinson and Morley both had two hits for the Keydets.

Game two of the weekend series is set for 3:30 pm Saturday.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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