Morrison, Shaffer pitch Chants to Saturday win over MTSU

(Bob McCool / CCU Athletics)
Published: Feb. 19, 2023 at 10:25 AM EST
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CONWAY, S.C. – Newcomers Jacob Morrison and Bryce Shaffer combined to strikeout 14 Middle Tennessee hitters to help lead the Chanticleers to an 11-3 home win over the Blue Raiders on day two of Baseball at the Beach presented by on Saturday.

CCU moved to 2-0 with the win, while the loss was the first for the Blue Raiders (1-1) on the young season.

Making his first collegiate start, Morrison (1-0) gave up three runs, two of which were earned, on three hits, one hit batter, and nine strikeouts over 5.0-complete innings to earn his first collegiate win.

The left-handed hurler Shaffer (1) recorded his first save, as he struck out five hitters and allowed just one hit and one walk over the final 4.0 innings of the contest. He also added two pickoffs in his first appearance as a Chant.

Providing the offense for the Chants was the middle of the order, as senior outfielder Graham Brown (2-for-5, HR, 2B, 4 RBIs, 2 runs) had a game-high four RBIs, highlighted by a three-run home run in the bottom of the first, while freshman catcher Caden Bodine (2-for-5, 2 RBIs, run) added two more RBIs in the win.

Three other Chants in Nick Lucky (1-for-2, BB, IBB, HBP, RBI, 2 runs), Payton Eeles (2-for-3, BB, RBI, SB), and Anthony Galason (0-for-4, RBI) all had one RBI on the day.

MTSU starter Eriq Swan (0-1) suffered the loss, as he allowed six runs on six hits, three walks, and four strikeouts over 4.0 innings of work, with most of the damage coming in the first inning.

The Blue Raiders’ offense consisted of a two-run home run off the bat of designated hitter Jeremiah Boyd (1-for-3, HR, 2 RBIs, run) and two hits and a run scored by outfielder Jackson Galloway (2-for-3, run).

Middle Tennessee got on the scoreboard first, as lead-off hitter Eston Snider was hit by a pitch to start the game and abruptly stole second. On his attempt to steal third, the throw from Bodine sailed high of Blake Barthol at third base and into the outfield to allow Snider to waltz in to put the visitors on top 1-0.

However, the lead did not last long, as the Chants’ offense pounced on MTSU’s starter with five runs in the bottom half of the first.

Barthol, who led off CCU’s offense with a solo home run in Friday’s game, got the offense started with a triple to left-center field. Two batters later, Lucky ripped a single past the defensive shift to tie the game up at 1-1.

Following a single by Bodine to put runners on first and third, Brown hit a 1-1 pitch high over the bullpen beyond the left-field fence for a three-run shot to put the Chants on top 4-1. The home run was Brown’s second of the season.

Coastal capped the first-inning scoring with an RBI ground out from Galason to take a 5-1 lead after just one inning of play.

After the Chants added a run in the bottom of the second on a heads-up baserunning play by Chase Hudson, who scored all the way around from second base on an MTSU fielder’s choice, Morrison cruised through the second, third, and fourth innings to keep the home team on top at 6-1.

In the fifth inning, the Blue Raiders finally broke through, as Galloway led off the inning with a single up the middle, which was immediately followed by a two-run home run by Boyd to cut the CCU lead to three at 6-3.

That would be the last MTSU runners to go beyond first base for the rest of the game, as Shaffer pitched 1-2-3 innings in the sixth and seventh frames and picked off one base runner in each of the eighth and ninth innings in the win.

Coastal’s offense was not done, as Eeles added an RBI single in the seventh, while in the bottom of the eighth, the Chants tacked on four more runs aided by a hit batsman, three walks, two wild pitches, a two-run single by Bodine, and an RBI double off the bat of Brown to extend the lead to 11-3.

Coastal will be back in action on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET versus VCU (1-1). Middle Tennessee (1-1) and Fairfield (0-2) will play at 9:30 a.m. ET.