CCU comes from behind to beat Bucs

From Coastal Carolina University

CHARLESTON, S.C. – The eighth-ranked Coastal Carolina University baseball team (16-3, 1-0 Big South) scored five runs in the final two innings to overcome a 5-2 deficit and defeat Charleston Southern (8-11, 0-1 Big South) 7-5 March 19 in Charleston, S.C.

Coastal Carolina had tied the game at five in the eighth with three runs.  In the ninth, senior Adam Rice singled with one out on Patrick Dolan.  Sophomore Daniel Bowman looked to have ended the inning with a ground ball double play back to the pitcher, but Dolan's throw to second was wild, putting runners on second and third.  Dolan would intentionally walk redshirt-senior Chance Gilmore to load the bases.  Sophomore Steve Davis then doubled to right to score the go-ahead runs in Rice and Bowman.

Charleston Southern pitcher Anthony Markham struck out junior Rico Noel and redshirt-sophomore Tommy La Stella to start the game, but senior Jose Iglesias took Markham's first pitch over the wall in left field, giving the Chants the early 1-0 lead.  Nick Chinners would then give the Bucs a 2-1 lead, belting a two-run home run to left that scored Tom Burkett, who walked to open the inning.

Coastal tied the game at 2-2 in the top of the second.  Sophomore Taylor Motter singled to right with one out.  He would move to second on a single up the middle by junior Scott Woodward and scored on another single up the middle by Noel.

The Bucs came back with three runs in the bottom of the second.  Derek Smith led off the inning with a single to center.  Junior Cody Wheeler then walked Dolan and gave up an infield single to Walt Quattlebaum to load the bases.  Wheeler struck out Bentley Christmas, but gave up a single to Burkett to score a pair of runs. Chinners then singled up the middle to score Quattlebaum to make it 5-2 Bucs.

Coastal Carolina squandered an opportunity to score in the fourth.  Motter walked to open the inning.  Woodward then reached on an infield single.  Noel's sacrifice bunt was popped up but Markham walked La Stella to load the bases.  CSU would get out of the jam as Iglesias grounded into a double play to end the inning.

Coastal tied the game at five in the top of the eighth.  CSU reliever Patrick Dolan struck out Bowman to open the inning, but Gilmore reached on an infield single and went to second on a Dolan throwing error.  Davis scored Gilmore with a single to right.  Motter hit a towering pop up to first that Thornburg lost in the sun for an infield single, putting runners on the corners.  Woodward then reached on a fielder's choice that scored Davis and made it 5-4 CSU.  Noel then had the big hit, a double to center that scored Woodward to tie the game at five.

Wheeler struck out a career-high 12 batters in his seven-inning stint.  He gave up seven hits and five runs with two walks.  Freshman Ryan Connolly pitched two perfect innings for his second win of the season.  Wheeler and Connolly combined to retire the last 15 CSU hitters.

The loss was tagged to Dolan, who gave up four earned runs and six hits in 1.1 innings.  Markham had a stellar outing, allowing just two runs and seven hits with five strikeouts in seven innings pitched.

Five Chants had two hits apiece, with Davis driving in three base runners.  For Charleston Southern, Chinners went 3-for-4 with three RBI's.

Coastal Carolina and Charleston Southern continue the three-game series Saturday, March 20 at 2 p.m.