CCU suffers first Big South loss of season at Radford

Radford used a three-run third inning to overcome a two-run deficit and never looked back to hand #25 Coastal Carolina a 6-3 loss Saturday afternoon at RU Baseball Stadium.

The Chanticleers (17-8, 1-1) out-hit the Highlanders, 11-9, but Radford (15-12, 4-1) was more opportunistic, scoring all its runs with two outs.

After facing one of the Big South’s best pitchers last night, Coastal had another tough test Saturday, facing Radford’s Tyler Costello. He entered the game with a 4-0 record, a 1.34 ERA and had not given up a run in 26 consecutive innings. Costello would improve to 5-0, allowing nine hits and two runs with a walk and a strikeout.

Coastal managed to score in the first inning. Jacob May had a leadoff single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a sharp single to right field by Alex Buccilli. Coastal would load the bases after Daniel Bowman singled and Tucker Frawley was hit by a pitch. However, Ted Blackman’s well-hit ball to left-center field was tracked down for the final out to keep the score 1-0.

The Chants added a run in the third, but could have been more. With two out, Frawley and Blackman had back-to-back singles. Chris Suseck lined a double down the third base line, scoring Frawley for a 2-0 lead. On the play, Blackman was waved home but two perfect throws led to Blackman being tagged out at the plate.

The play at the plate proved key as Radford scored three in the bottom of the third to go up 3-2. Josh Gardiner and Zach Costello had leadoff singles. After a sac bunt and pop out, Coastal would load the bases by walking reigning Big South Player of the Week Matt Hillsinger. Mack Mack followed with a three-run double to right-center field.

The Highlanders extended their lead in the fifth. With one out, Brett Mollenhauer reached on an error. He would be erased on Jeff Kemp’s fielder’s choice and Radford would eventually load the bases on a walk and infield single. Kemp would score on a wild pitch and Hunter Higgerson walked to load the bases again and end the day for Coastal’s Tyler Herb (4-2). Cory Turner pushed the lead to 5-2 when he was hit by pitch.

The Chants trimmed their deficit to two, 5-3, in the seventh. Buccilli singled and a balk put the junior on second. Bowman followed with an infield hit, putting runners on the corners. Rich Witten plated Buccilli with a sacrifice fly to center.

Radford got that run back in the home half as Turner hit a two-out home run to right field. to provide the 6-3 final.

Bowman led the Chants on offense with three hits, while Buccilli and Suseck each had two. Herb suffered the loss, allowing six hits, five runs and three walks over 4.2 innings.

The rubber game of the three-game set will be played Sunday with first pitch set for 2 pm.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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