Courtesy: Coastal Carolina Media Relations
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - The Coastal Carolina baseball team was unable to complete the upset of No. 1 Virginia as the Chanticleers fell to the Cavaliers 8-7 on Wednesday evening at Virginia's Davenport Field.
The setback drops Coastal to 21-12 (7-2 Big South) as Virginia improves to 33-3 (13-2 Atlantic Coast).
Trailing 7-5 in the bottom of the ninth, Virginia manufactured three runs capped by a walk-off single off the bat of Steven Proscia. The Cavaliers tallied four hits in the inning. Virginia started the inning off with back-to-back singles followed by back-to-back walks to cut its deficit in half at 7-6. Two more RBI singles in the inning by Joh Barr and Proscia completed the top-ranked Cavaliers' rally.
With the score tied 5-5, the Chants regained the lead for the first time since the fourth inning with a two run ninth. Hayes Orton lined a shot back up the middle that deflected off the pitcher and to the shortstop. Hustling all the way down the line, Orton was able to beat the tag attempt at first base to reach safely. La Stella then collected his final hit and RBI of the game as he shot his second double of the day down the first base line to score Orton. Bowman then followed suit with single to right center to drive home Coastal's final run of the game.
The Chanticleers struck first in the game as Scott Woodward led off the first inning with a sharply hit single through the right side of the infield. Orton the followed with a perfectly placed sacrifice bunt to advance Woodward to second. Tommy La Stella then doubled off the center field wall to pick up his 40th RBI of the season. Coastal's half of the inning would end with La Stella stranded on third after being advanced by a Daniel Bowman deep fly to center field.
The Cavaliers broke through in the bottom of the fourth with five runs on six hits, including four doubles. Virginia started the inning with a single by Barr and a double by John Hicks. Proscia then singled to left field, however, Conway had trouble retrieving the ball from his glove, allowing two runs to score. Jared King then doubled down the left field line to score Proscia. Back-to-back RBI doubles by Reed Gragani and Colin Harrington gave the Cavaliers its largest lead of the evening at 5-1.
Coastal would respond in the fifth with two runs on one hit to bring close within two runs at 5-3. Rich Witten led off the inning with a double down the left field line for his first hit of the game. Josh Conway drew an ensuing walk to give the Chants two runners with no outs. Woodward followed with a sacrifice bunt to third to advance both runners. A wild pitch by Virginia's Corey Hunt scored Witten from third. La Stella then picked up his second RBI of the day as he hit into a fielder's choice to score Conway.
After holding Virginia scoreless in the fifth, the Chanticleers tacked on another run in the top of the sixth to trim the home team's lead to 5-4. Following a two out walk by Tucker Frawley, Witten roped a double to the wall in left-center to drive home Frawley. The RBI was Witten's 19th this season.
In the seventh, a Bowman RBI double to right field knotted the score at 5-5. La Stella once again started things off for the Chants with a two out single to shallow right field. Bowman ensued ripping his ninth double on the year to the gap in right center to score La Stella.
Coastal Carolina tallied 12 hits with five going for extra bases. The Chants were paced at the plate by La Stella's three hits and three RBIs. Three Virginia players totaled nine of the Cavilers' 16 base knocks.
Josh Conway (4-1) suffered his first loss on the season after going 1.1 innings on the hill and allowing three runs on four hits. Virginia's Branden Kline (2-0) picked up the win allowing two runs on three hits in an inning of work.
Coastal Carolina returns home to Watson Stadium/Vrooman Field to take on Gardner-Webb in a weekend series starting on Friday, April 15. First pitch for Friday's contest is set for 6 p.m.