Courtesy: CCU Media Relations
MYRTLE BEACH – Coastal Carolina scored once in the first and four times in the eighth to claim a 5-1 victory over Liberty Saturday afternoon before a national ESPNU television audience at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark.
The Chanticleers improve to 18-12 overall, 5-2 in the Big South and run their streak to 18 consecutive wins over the Flames (17-13, 6-4) dating back to 2008. The teams will play game two of the series on Sunday at 7:30 pm, which is a change from the original schedule. The series concludes Monday at Noon.
Ben Smith (3-1) pitched a career-high eight innings. The sophomore scattered four hits but walked six with two strikeouts. He did allow one unearned run. For the second time in three games, Alex Buccilli delivered the game-winning RBI – the ninth in his two-year career – with a two-run double in the eight to break a 1-1 stalemate. Will Remillard added two RBI as well.
Coastal got on the scoreboard first. Ted Blackman and Jacob May started the bottom of the first with consecutive walks. Buccilli moved the two up 90 feet with a sacrifice bunt and W. Remillard drove in Blackman with a sacrifice fly to left field.
Liberty tied the game in the top of the sixth thanks to a CCU error. With one out, Trey Wimmer walked and Danny Graurer singled. Nick Paxton reached on a fielder's choice. However, on the play, a throwing error allowed Wimmer to score.
Liberty starter Carson Herndon (3-3) was the tough-luck loser. He allowed two hits and two runs with three walks and a strikeout in 7.1 innings. In fact, after allowing Coastal's first run, Herndon retired 19 of his next 21.