Radford snaps Coastal’s Big South series streak at 12

The 26th-ranked Coastal Carolina Chanticleers had won each of its last 12 Big South Conference series dating back to 2011 (at Winthrop), but had two golden opportunities squandered thanks to a pair of Radford double plays with bases loaded Sunday to give the Highlanders (22-16, 9-6) a 5-2 win.

The Chanticleers fall to 25-15, 11-4 after dropping game two and three of the weekend series.

After Radford scored twice in the fifth, Coastal had bases loaded and one out in the home half. On a ground ball, CCU looked to have scored twice when Jacob May reached on a fielder’s choice on an apparent throwing error. However, runner interference at second base, which forced the bad throw, ended up being an inning-ending double play.

Then in the seventh after Radford score three, Coastal loaded the bases with no outs, scoring once to trim its deficit to 5-2. Once again, May was in the middle of a Highlander double play and his line drive was snagged in midair, allowing RU to double off the runner at second. Coastal would loaded the bases again but Alex Buccilli’s line drive to left was deadened by the strong winds giving RU a fairly routine fly out to end the inning.

Radford got two solid relief performances to close out the game. James Woods pitched 1.1 innings getting two strikeouts. He gave way to Jeff Maxwell, who earned his second save. Maxwell gave up a leadoff single, but rebounded to get a double play and ground out to end the contest.

Radford pushed two runs across in the fifth inning. Josh Reavis, who was 3-for-4 with two runs scored, drew a leadoff walk and Patrick Marshall followed with a single. After a sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third. Coastal turned to Austin Kerr, who threw a wild pitch to allow the first run to score. Ryan Burgess then grounded out to first to drive in Marshall.

Coastal answered in the home half. Chris Suseck singled and moved to second on a ground out. Brian Pruett followed with an RBI single. Coastal would load the bases with one out and looked to take the lead on a throwing error, but interference was called at second breaking up the double play to end the inning with Coastal down 2-1.

Radford took advantage of CCU defensive miscues to score three in the seventh to a take a 5-1.  Josh Gardiner started the frame by reaching on an error and advancing to second on the play. Reavis followed with a single to put runners on the corners. Marshall bunted to score Gardiner and put runners on first and second. Reavis and Marshall moved up 90 feet on a throwing error as CCU tried to pick Reavis off second. Two batters later, Burgess delivered a two-run single, giving him three RBI on the day.

Coastal loaded the bases with no outs and got an RBI single from Anthony Marks, who was 3-for-5, to keep the bases loaded, scoring Jake Kane. May looked to put additional runs on the board but Radford shortstop Chris Coia made a leaping catch and doubled off Ted Blackman at second. Will Remillard followed to re-load the bases. Buccilli ripped a line drive to left but the strong wind allowed Zach Wollcock to catch the fly ball to keep the score 5-2, which proved to be the final.

Radford starter Keith Fritz (2-2) earned the win. He scattered seven hits over six innings, allowing two runs and two walk with one strikeout. CCU starter Tyler Poole (4-2) was saddled with the loss. He allowed four hits, two runs and four walks over 4.1 innings.

Coastal Carolina will return to action Tuesday, April 23, at the College of Charleston. First pitch at Patriots Point is set for 6 pm.

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