Herb flirts with no-hitter as Chanticleers down Liberty

Coastal Carolina sophomore Tyler Herb took a no-hitter one out into the seventh and Rich Witten’s two-run home run proved to be the difference in a 4-2 Chanticleer victory at Liberty Friday night at Worthington Stadium.

With the win, Coastal improves to 29-13 overall, 10-3 in the Big South, and secures a weekend series victory over the Flames (33-14, 10-7).

Herb’s no-hit bid was tested early as he walked leadoff hitter Ian Parmley before getting two fly outs and a ground out. In the second, he walked a batter with two outs, but induced a ground out to end the inning. He would retire five of the next six, hitting one batter in the fourth. Liberty made its first real threat in the fifth as a one-out walk would reach second after a sacrifice bunt. However, Herb would get a ground out to end the fifth and worked a perfect sixth, striking out two.

After Herb got one out in the seventh, Danny Grauer broke up the no-hitter with a single back up the middle. Trey Wimmer followed with an infield single and Dalton Sype walked to the load the bases. Herb would get Zach Hailey to hit a shallow fly ball for out number two.

Parmley ended the shutout bid with a looping line drive over the head of CCU second baseman Justin Creel to drive in two. Ryan Connolly came out of the bullpen and would get an out without throwing a pitch, picking Parmley off first to end the threat.

Herb improves to 7-2, allowing three hits and two runs while walking four and striking out five. He out-dueled one of the league’s top pitchers, John Niggli, who fell to 7-2. He allowed nine hits and four runs with two walks and six strikeouts.

Coastal used a familiar formula to push an early run across in the first and would end the inning score twice on four hits. Jacob May hit the first pitch of the game through the left side of the infield for a single. After a sacrifice bunt by Ted Blackman, Daniel Bowman, who had three hits on the night, lined an RBI single back up the middle. A single by Alex Buccilli put runners on the corners. With two out, Tucker Frawley delivered an RBI single to center field.

After missing an opportunity in the third, getting runners on second and third with one out, the Chanticleers would not come up empty in the fifth. Bowman had his third hit of the game, an infield single to shortstop, and scored two batters later on Witten’s two-run home run to left field. The blast was Witten’s second of the season.

Connolly worked a perfect eighth and faced some trouble in the ninth. After a leadoff walk by Alex Close, Grauer lined a ball back to Connolly, who doubled off Close at first. Wimmer kept the game alive with a single before Sype’s tapper back to the mound ended the game.

Connolly earns his 10th save of the season, moving into a tie for third on the CCU single-season list.

Coastal Carolina and Liberty will complete the three-game series Saturday at 2 pm. The game will be on ESPN3 except in the Grand Strand area where the game will be available on HTC Cable’s Channel 4.

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