Morrison, Coastal offense power past ODU in 15-2 road win

(Coastal Athletic Media)
Published: Apr. 16, 2023 at 10:49 AM EDT
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NORFOLK, Va. – Behind a season-high five home runs and a quality start from true freshman starting pitcher Jacob Morrison, the No. 17 Coastal Carolina Chanticleers evened the series with the Old Dominion Monarchs at one game apiece with a 15-2 win on Saturday afternoon in Norfolk, Va.

With the win, Coastal improved to 22-11 overall and 10-4 in Sun Belt play, while the loss dropped Old Dominion to 24-10 and 9-5 in conference action.

The 15-run outburst marks the 18th time this year that the Chants have tallied double-digit runs and puts the Men in Teal at 18-0 on the season when scoring 10 runs or more.

The Chants scored four runs in the sixth inning and blew the game wide open with eight runs in the top of the ninth frame, as eight different runners crossed home plate in the double-digit win.

The difference was at the start of each inning, as the Chanticleers’ offense put the lead-off hitter on base in five of the nine innings (.556), while ODU didn’t put the lead-off hitter on base for the entire game (.000).

CCU hit .333 (6-for-18) with runners in scoring position and .304 (7-for-23) with runners on base for the game, while the Monarchs were 0-for-5 (.000) with runners in scoring position and 1-for-9 (.111) with runners on base at the plate.

Coastal’s offense exploded for five home runs, one each from Graham Brown (1-for-3, HR, 3 BB, RBI, 2 runs), Caden Bodine (2-for-5, HR, HBP, 2 RBIs, 2 runs), Derek Bender (2-for-5, HR, 3 RBIs, run), Zack Beach (2-for-5, HR, 3 RBIs, 2 runs), and Orlando Pena (1-for-3, HR, BB, SAC, RBI, 2 runs).

Lead-off hitter Payton Eeles (4-for-6, 2 RBIs, run, 2 SB) led the way with a game-high four base hits, while Chad Born (1-for-4, 2B, HBP, RBI, 3 runs) and Ty Dooley (1-for-5, RBI) each drove in one RBI in the win.

For ODU offensively, six different Monarchs had just one hit each, while the RBI came off a ground out from Hunter Fitz-Gerald (0-for-4, RBI).

The 1-2 pitching combination of Morrison and Liam Doyle (2.0 IP, 2 hits, 1 ER, 2 K) allowed just one earned run, struck out 10 hitters, and walked just one in the nine-inning contest.

Morrison (5-0) picked up his fifth win of the season with his third quality start, as the true freshman held the high-powered ODU offense in check. He gave up just one unearned run on four hits, one walk, one hit batter, and eight strikeouts over 7.0-complete innings.

The loss fell to the Monarchs’ starter Sam Armstrong (6-1), as he suffered his first loss of the season. The right-hander gave up four runs on seven hits, three walks, and six strikeouts over 4.1 innings on the mound.

The contest started out as a pitchers’ duel, as the Coastal offense stranded one runner on base in each of the first two innings, while on the mound Morrison recorded back-to-back 1-2-3 innings over the first two frames to keep the game scoreless heading into the third inning of play.

The offenses picked up in the third inning, as Brown blasted a towering solo home run to left field to put the Chanticleers on top 1-0 early. The home run was his ninth of the season.

In the bottom half of the inning, ODU’s offense strung together back-to-back singles and a walk with one out to load the bases, only to see Dooley snag a sinking line drive up the middle and run to the second base bag to double up the Monarchs’ runner to end the inning with the visitors in Teal still on top 1-0.

However, in the fourth inning, the Monarchs did push across the tying run, as Jake Ticer scored all the way around from second base on a sky-high infield pop-up that landed on the grass between four Coastal defenders to tie the game up at 1-1.

The Chants quickly retook the lead with one swing of the bat in the next half inning, as Pena ripped his first career home run to left field to put the Men in Teal back in front at 2-1 midway through the fifth inning.

After another 1-2-3 inning by Morrison on the mound in the bottom of the sixth, the Chants’ offense went back to the long ball in the top of the sixth, this time a solo home run from Bodine to extend the lead to two at 3-1. The home run was the fourth of the season for the freshman catcher.

The long balls did not stop there, as after a one-out walk and hit batter, Beach hit a 1-1 pitch over the flag pole in right-center field for a three-run shot, his ninth home run of the season, to double the Chants’ runs total and take a 6-1 lead into the bottom of the sixth inning.

While Morrison cruised through the sixth and seventh innings, allowing just one hit and stranding one Monarch runner, the Chants added to its lead in the top of the eighth inning on an ODU throwing error, a single by Beach, and an RBI bunt single by Dooley on a safety-squeeze play to put the score at 7-1.

ODU was able to get one run back in the bottom half of the inning on a heads-up base running play by Luke Waters, who raced all the way around from second base on a ground ball out to the right side of the infield to cut the Chants’ lead to five at 7-2 with one inning to play.

The run would prove null and void, as the visitors in Teal blew the game open in the top of the ninth inning with eight runs, highlighted by a three-run opposite field home run from Bender, his team-leading 11th of the season, an RBI double by Born, and a two-run single off the bat of Eeles.

Doyle closed the door by pitching around a single in the bottom of the ninth to give the Chants the 15-2 road win.

Coastal (22-11, 10-4 Sun Belt) and Old Dominion (24-10, 9-5 Sun Belt) will play the rubber game Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.