Chants rally past Buckeyes; fall to Marist in 14 innings

After taking a 4-1 decision from Ohio State Saturday afternoon, Coastal Carolina and Marist battled to a 14-inning game Saturday evening at Watson Stadium/Vrooman Field with the visiting Rex Foxes claiming a 5-4 victory.

In the 14th, Mark Stuckey had a leadoff single for Marist (3-4) and moved to second on a wild pitch. Coastal pitcher Chris Harrison (0-1) got outs before Jake Berry hit a seeing-eye single up the middle to bring home Stuckey. in the home half, Coastal Carolina (7-6) had Tucker Frawley, by walk, and Adam Eggnatz, by error, reach with one out. Marist pitcher Brandon Dolan (1-1) would get a strikeout and a ground out to give the Red Foxes the win.

Coastal tied the game in the ninth to force extra innings. Pinch hitter Keith Picconi drew a leadoff walk. He was replaced by pinch runner Luke Willis. After a sacrifice bunt, Jacob May brought home the tying run with a single to center field. May would take second on the attempted play at the plate.

However, the sophomore would get picked off and that play figured big as the next batter, Rich Witten, doubled to right field. Witten would be stranded at second, after an intentional walk, as Marist pitcher Jake Rifkin got a ground out to end the inning.

The Chants opened the scoring with a single tally in the first inning. Leadoff hitter Justin Creel singled, moved to second when May walked. Witten moved to two up 90 feet with a sacrifice bunt and Daniel Bowman plated Creel with a sacrifice fly to center.

In the third, Brian Pruett reached on a leadoff single and would move to third on May’s single. Pruett would later score on a passed ball to give the Chants a 2-0 lead.

Marist used a pair of errors and bunt singles in the fourth to take a 3-2 lead.  Jake Barry reached on an error and moved to second on a balk. Zach Shank would reach on a bunt single. On the play, a throwing error put Shank on second and allowed Barry to score. Mike Orefice followed with a bunt single to put runners on the corners. Nick McQuail plated Shank with a safety squeeze. Pat Welsh gave the Red Foxes the lead with an RBI double down the left field line.

The Red Foxes extended their advantage with a run in the fifth. With two outs, Shank drew a four-pitch walk. Orefice and McQuail followed with back-to-back singles to bring home Shank.

For Coastal. Bowman was 3-for-5, while May added two hits. Starter Ben Smith pitched a career-long 5.1 innings, allowing six hits, four runs (one earned) and one walk with three strikeouts. Brian Corbett followed with 3.2 scoreless innings, allowing just a walk with two strikeouts.

Coastal Carolina will conclude the Chanticleer Classic Sunday afternoon, hosting Ohio State at 1 pm at Watson Stadium/Vrooman Field.

CCU 4, Ohio State 1

Coastal Carolina junior Josh Conway pitched his first career complete game and out-dueled Ohio State’s ace Jaron Long for a 4-1 victory Saturday afternoon in the Chanticleer Classic at Watson Stadium/Vrooman Field.

Coastal, who hosts Marist in the second game of a mixed doubleheader Saturday evening, improves to 7-5, while Ohio State falls to 7-5. The Buckeyes will also play a mixed doubleheader, facing Toledo Saturday night at BB&T Coastal Field in Myrtle Beach.

Conway (1-1) and Long (0-0) had both suffered tough luck in the early season. Conway was 0-1 but had a 1.50 ERA with 12 strikeouts in 12 innings.  Long entered with a 2.40 ERA in three starts with 14 Ks and zero walks allowed.

Conway, after striking out the leadoff hitter in three pitches, got into trouble in the first as he walked the second batter, Tim Wetzel. A single by Ryan Cypret and hit by pitch loaded the bases. Mike Carroll put the Buckeyes on top early by driving in the first run with an RBI ground out.

From that point, Conway and Long were in control. Conway would only allow two hits over his final 8.1 innings with only other base runners for OSU coming three walks and an error but no runner wold advance past second base. For the game, Conway allowed three hits, one run and four walks with six strikeouts in the complete-game victory.

In the bottom of the seventh, Daniel Bowman reached on a leadoff infield single. The hit broke a string of 10 straight Chanticleers that had been retired by OSU starter Jaron Long. Bowman stole second and just beat the tag at third on Tucker Frawley’s sacrifice bunt. After an out, Tripp Martin executed a safety squeeze, bunting the ball down the first base line to score Bowman and knot the game at 1-1.

In the eighth, Jacob May walked with one out, marking the first free pass Long had allowed in the 2012 season (22.1 innings).  May would be cut down attempting to steal but Rich Witten would replace him at first after being walked to chase Long. Bowman welcomed Buckeye relief pitcher Trace Dempsey with a stand-up triple to center field, scoring Witten. Frawley followed with an RBI double and would score on Alex Buccilli’s single.

Conway got two quick outs in the top of the ninth before Kirby Pellant dropped in a single to right. Two pitches later, David Corna flied out to center to end to game.

Long would not factor in the decision, pitching 7.1 innings and allowing six hits, one run and two walks with seven strikeouts. Dempsey (0-1) suffered the loss, allowing three hits and three runs in 0.1 innings.

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