No. 21 Coastal holds on for 4-3 victory over The Citadel

ccubase-hopeckCoastal Carolina, ranked 21st nationally, raced out to a 4-0 lead through two innings, but needed two clutch relief pitching performances to hold on for a 4-3 win versus The Citadel Wednesday evening.

A crowd of 2,793 was on hand, marking the fourth-largest in the two-year history of Springs Brooks Stadium and 14th-best overall to watch a Coastal Carolina home game. The Chanticleers improve to 17-9 and have won 10 of their last 12. The Bulldogs drop to 12-14.

Coastal had two runs on three hits in both the first and second innings to build its 4-0 lead. However, the Chants did not have a hit over its final six innings. Coastal then committed two errors in the seventh inning as The Citadel trimmed its deficit to one, 4-3.

With runners on the corners and one out in the top of the seventh, Andrew Beckwith was called upon to limit the damage. The Bulldogs attempted a safety squeeze. While the bunt went right back to Beckwith, he bobbled it once and William Kinney attempted to score, only to be tagged out in a run down. Beckwith then got Shy Phillips to strikeout to end the threat.

Beckwith worked a 1-2-3 eighth with strikeout before turning the game over to Mike Morrison in the ninth. While he walked two, Morrison struck out two, including the final out with runners on first and second, to earn his third save of the season.

In Morrison’s last nine outings (20.1 innings), the senior is 2-0 with three saves. He has not allowed a run over the span with 32 strikeouts. More specifically, he has retired 40 of the last 49 batters he has faced with 24 punch outs.

Zack Hopeck (1-1) earned the win with an impressive start. The sophomore pitched five scoreless innings, scattered three hits, walked one and struck out five.

Coastal scored twice in the first inning. Anthony Marks hit the first pitch he was to center field for a single and took third on a Michael Paez single down the third base line. A balk moved Paez to second and Marks scored. With two outs, Connor Owings fisted a single through the left side of the infield to bring home Paez and give CCU a 2-0 lead.

In the second inning, the Chants loaded the bases on singles by Seth Lancaster and Matt Beaird while Marks walked. Paez plated Lancaster with an RBI ground out to third. G.K. Young followed with a single to left center field to drive in Marks for a 4-0 advantage.

The Citadel took advantage of two CCU errors to cut its deficit to one, 4-3, in the top of the seventh. A hit, error and hunt single loaded the bases. After a pop out and bases still loaded, William Kinney reached on an error, bringing home two runs. Jacob Watcher followed with an RBI single to center, putting runners on the corners. Beckwith came out of the CCU bullpen and got a ground out and strikeout to keep CCU in the lead.

Both teams only had six hits each with no player having more than one hit in the contest.

Coastal Carolina will stay at home this weekend as well as return to Big South play by hosting Gardner-Webb in a three-game set. First pitch Friday is scheduled for 6 pm. with games on Saturday and Sunday scheduled to begin at 2 pm.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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