Coastal takes bats, broom to High Point in doubleheader

Daniel Bowman tied another record, Rich Witten was 5-for-8 in two games and Tucker Frawley was 3-for-4 with a game-winning RBI to lead Coastal Carolina to a Saturday doubleheader sweep over High Point, winning game one 9-7 and game two 17-7 at Watson Stadium/Vrooman Field.

The Chanticleers, who are in first place in the Big South after winning each of their first four league series, improves to 26-13, 9-3 in the conference, while the Panthers fall to 23-20, 8-7.

Bowman, already the CCU all-time RBI leader, hit a two run triple in game two. He moved to fourth on the Big South’s all-time RBI list with 191. Also, he moves into a tie for the CCU all-time lead for total bases with 473, ranking fifth in league history, while his 11 career triples ranks third (tied) on the CCU career list and 11th (tied) on the Big South career list.

Witten finished the day with five hits, the most by any player Saturday, and drove in three along with Bowman, Sloan Gilliam, Ted Blackman and Justin Creel.

In game one after High Point hit a grand slam to tie the game at 7-7 in the top of the seven, Frawley delivered a RBI single in the bottom of the inning to plate Bowman and CCU would go on to win 9-7.

For High Point in the doubleheader, Ryne Rush went 4-for-10 and drove in four, while Ryan Retz had five RBI, thanks to a grand slam.

In game one, as it did Friday, High Point jumped out to an early lead. Sean Wilson was hit by a pitch to start the game and Willie Medina lined an RBI double down the left field line. Rush followed with a single to put runners on the corners. Retz made it three consecutive hits with a soft liner to right field, driving in Medina on the play. A wild pitch put runners on second and third with Devin Bujnovsky grounding out to score Retz for a 3-0 lead.

From that point, CCU starter Tyler Herb settled down and put up five consecutive zeroes. In the meantime, Coastal would score seven unanswered.

Coastal got on the scoreboard, scoring twice in the bottom of the third. Gilliam reached on an error to start the home half. After a wild pitch and ground out, Gilliam moved to third. Brian Pruett was hit by a pitch and Jacob May followed with an RBI single through the right side of the infield. Keith Picconi would load the bases after being hit by a pitch. Bowman delivered an RBI single through the left side of the infield. High Point starter Matt Armstead limited the damage by inducing an inning-ending double play.

The Chanticleers took their first lead of the series in the bottom of the fourth. Witten and Frawley had singles and Gilliam laid down a perfect bunt for a single. A throwing error on the play allowed both Witten and Frawley to score, while Gilliam advanced to third. Creel drove in Gilliam with an RBI ground out, putting CCU up 5-3.

Coastal padded its advantage in the fifth, scoring twice for a 7-3 lead. With two out, Alex Buccilli singled to center. He would advance to third on a failed pickoff attempt and score on Witten’s RBI single to left field. Witten took second on a fielding error on the play, moved to third on a Frawley single and scored on a wild pitch.

After putting up five zeros from the second through sixth innings, Coastal Carolina turned to the bullpen. Woody Nisbet walked the first two batters and was lifted for Ben Smith. After a sacrifice bunt, Smith loaded the bases with a walk. Smith would then get a strikeout, but Retz lined the first pitch over the left field wall to tie the game at 7-7 with his first career grand slam.

Coastal regained the lead with two runs (9-7) in the bottom of the seventh. Bowman had a leadoff single and Buccilli hit a Texas League double down the left field line. After an out, Frawley drove in Bowman and put runners on third and first with a single to left. Pinch hitter Blackman laid down a perfect bunt single, plating Buccilli.

Ryan Connolly worked a perfect ninth to earn his ninth save of the season. He now has 95 career appearances to rank third on the school’s all-time list. Smith, despite giving up the grand slam, earned the win, improving to 2-1. He allowed the one hit and two walks with five strikeouts, striking out the side in the eighth. Herb would allow five hits (three coming in the first inning) and the three runs in the first over six innings with three walks and five strikeouts.

Kyle Wigmore suffered the loss (0-2). He allowed three hits and two runs over 1.1 innings.

In game two, Coastal scored first for the first time in the series. Buccilli and Witten had back-to-back singles. On Witten’s hit, the throw to third was errant and Buccilli advanced home for a 1-0 CCU lead.

Coastal pushed its lead to 7-0 in the third. After May reached on an error and Blackman singled, Bowman delivered a two-run triple. Buccilli followed with a sacrifice fly to bring home Bowman. Coastal then opened up the game with four straight hits. Witten and Gilliam singled and both scored on a two-run double by Creel. Suseck and Creel traded places with an RBI double by Suseck, capping a six-run inning.

High Point responded in the top of the fourth. Medina had an infield single and Rush cleared the bases with a two-run home run, his first round tripper of the season to make the score 7-2.

Coastal got one of those runs back in the fifth. Buccilli had a leadoff single and scored two batters later on Gilliam’s RBI single to center field.

The Chants added six runs in the sixth for a 14-2 lead thanks to six walks in the inning – three forcing in runs with the bases loaded. Pruett had a leadoff double and May reached on a bunt single. Blackman brought the two home with a double down the left field line. Two walks loaded the bases and Witten picked up an easy RBI with a walk. A fourth straight walk, this one to Gilliam, scored Coastal’s 12th run. Suseck reached on a fielder’s choice, scoring Buccilli. Tripp Martin walked to re-load the bases and Adam Eggnatz followed with an RBI walk.
Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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