Coastal splits Saturday double-header against High Point

Courtesy: Coastal Carolina Media Relations

HIGH POINT, NC -  In game one of a Saturday doubleheader, High Point's Retz went 4-for-5 with five RBI to lead the Panthers to a 9-3 win over Coastal Carolina at Williard Stadium. In game two, Coastal's Josh Conway was impressive on the mound and Daniel Bowman drove in four as the Chanticleers (26-15, 11-4 Big South) earned a split with a 11-2 win over the Panthers (21-21, 7-11 Big South) in game two.

In game two, Coastal finally got on track offensively, sending eight men to the plate in the first inning and scoring four runs. Scott Woodward, for the third consecutive game, started the game with a hit (home run in game one and singles in games two and three). Tommy La Stella followed with a single and Bowman cleared the bases with a three-run home run, his eighth of the season. Bowman now has a career-long, 14-game hit streak with 14 extra-base hits during the span. Rich Witten and Hayes Orton singled with Keith Hardwick getting hit by a pitch to load the bases. Taylor Motter hit into a double play, allowing Witten to score the fourth run.

In the home half, Coastal committed two errors in the inning to allow two runs to score. Rich Witten, getting his first career start at third base, had the two throwing errors. Lead off hitter Sal Pezzino was hit by a pitch and Steve Antolik reached on the first throwing error. On the play, Pezzino was caught in a run down between third and home before being tagged out. However, Antolik advanced to third on the play and he scored on Retz's double. Retz would then score on the second throwing error when Murray White grounded to third.

In the second for Coastal scored twice for a 6-2 lead. T.J. Young had a lead off single, moved to second when Woodward walked and La Stella put runners on second and third with a sacrifice bunt. Bowman plated Young with an RBI ground out to second base. With runners on the corners after a Witten walk, Woodward scored on a wild pitch.

In the fourth, High Point threatened, loading the bases with two outs, but CCU starter Josh Conway got Pezzino to ground out to keep the score 6-2 in Coastal's favor. Zeros were posted on the scoreboard in the third through eighth innings.

Conway (5-1) pitched five complete, allowing two hits and two unearned runs with a walk and five strike outs. Matt Laney, Ryan Connolly and Keith Hessler worked the final three innings, allowing just one walk between them and each striking out two.

In the ninth, Coastal added some insurance runs, scoring five times for a 11-2 lead. La Stella drew a one-put walk, stole second and moved to third on a ground out. With two outs, Rich Witten had an RBI single, Orton had an RBI triple and May had an RBI single. After May stole second, he scored on Taylor Mattor's RBI single. John Fidanza walked to put Motter on second and consecutive wild pitches moved Motter home for the fifth and final run.

Offensively for the Chants in game two, Orton was 3-for-5, while Witten and May each had two hits.

High Point used seven pitchers in game two with starter Mikel Rodenberg (0-1) getting the loss as he allowed five hits and four runs  in one inning.

In addition to Retz in game one, High Point was led by starting pitcher Mike Caldwell, who improved to 4-1. The right-hander pitched 6.1 innings, allowing four hits and one run with a walk and four strike outs. After allowing Scott Woodward a lead off single to start the game, Caldwell retired the next 17 Chanticleers until Woodward delivered a two-out hit in top of the sixth. Caldwell then got a fly out to end the sixth.

Matt Rein suffered the loss in game one, falling to 5-2 on the season and getting his first career loss in Big South action. The senior allowed seven hits and fve runs (three earned) over five innings with two walks and four strike outs. Rein, the reigning conference Pitcher of the Week, fell to 8-1 in with three saves in 30 career league contests.

High Point took advantage of a Coastal error to score in the bottom of the first. Drew Geissinger singled and reached second on an error on Antolik's fielder's choice. Retz singled to left to plate Geissinger and put runners on the corners. Murray White singled back up the middle to bring home Antolik for a 2-0 lead.

In the fifth, the Panters extended their lead to 5-0. Geissinger reached on a fielder's choice and Antolik walked. Retz cleared the bases with a three-run home runs that just satyed fair down the left field line.

In the seventh, Coastal broke through. Bowman hit a one-out double. Witten then reached on a High Point error. Designated hitter lined a double down the third base line, scoring Bowman. Motter then walked to load the bases. Corey Swikle came out of the HPU bullpen to get a pair of strike outs to keep the score 5-1.

The Panthers got that run back and then some in the home half of the seventh, going up 7-1. Antolik had a one-out double and Retz, who was 4-for-5, singled up the middle with the ball ricocheting off second base to allow Antolik to score for Retz's fifth RBI of the day and a 6-1 HPU lead. Retz moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on pinch hitter Robbie Gilles singled plate Retz.

Coastal got back in the game, scoring twice to make the score 7-3 in the top of the eighth. Woodward drew a one-out walk and Bowman drew a two-out walk. The two scored on a two-run double to right-center field by Rich Witten.

However, High Point once again answered. Spencer Andrews was hit by a pitch and Pezzino doubled. With a drawn-in infield, Geissinger singled to score Andrews. Antolik then grounded into a double play to allow Pezzino to score for the 9-3 final.

Coastal loaded the bases in the ninth with two outs, but Swickle recorded a strike out to end the game and earn his first save.

Coastal Carolina will stay on the road to play at UNC Wilmington Tuesday (Apr. 26) with first pitch set for 6 pm.