MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - The 12th-ranked Coastal Carolina University baseball team (4-1) opened Baseball at the Beach with an 11-7 win over James Madison (0-1) Feb. 26 at BB&T Coastal Field in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The two teams traded leads for the first four innings before a five-run Coastal fifth gave the Chants the advantage for good.
James Madison plated a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. Matt Townsend singled on a wind-blown pop up to second base. He would trot home on a two-run home run down the left field line by Trevor Knight. James Madison would then have runners on the corners and one out, but sophomore Anthony Meo picked off Brett Garner and struck out McKinnon Langston to end the threat. The Chants answered with a run in the second. Junior Rico Noel walked, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from junior Scott Woodward and scored on a double to the right field gap by sophomore Daniel Bowman.
Coastal Carolina took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the third. Woodward was hit by a pitch to open the inning. He stole second and scored on a single by redshirt-sophomore Tommy LaStella. The Chants would take a 3-2 lead on senior Adam Rice's single to left that scored LaStella. James Madison came back with two runs in the top of the fourth. Langston led off the inning with a single. Mike Fabiaschi then reached on an error. Meo struck out Jake Lowery, but walked Johnny Bladel to load the bases. Townsend scored a pair of runs with a single to center field.
Coastal retook the lead in the bottom of the fourth. Sophomore Taylor Motter reached on an infield single to start the inning. Sophomore Steve Davis then hit a slow roller to short, but Motter beat the throw to second. Noel moved both runners up on a sacrifice bunt and Woodward reached on his second hit by pitch of the game to load the bases. Sophomore Daniel Bowman walked to score Motter and LaStella scored Davis on a sacrifice fly as the Chants took a 5-4 lead.
The Chanticleers exploded for five runs in the bottom of the fifth, sending 10 men to the plate. Rice opened the inning with a double and moved to third on a bunt single from redshirt-senior Chance Gilmore. Motter was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Davis brought in a run with a single to left. Woodward brought in a pair of runs with a single to left, making it 8-3 Coastal. The final two runs were scored off the bat of senior Jose Igleisas, who singled to left, scoring Noel and Woodward.
Coastal made it 11-4 as Gilmore singled, moved to second on a wild pitch, went to third on a Motter sacrifice and scored on another wild pitch. James Madison made things interesting in the ninth, scoring three runs. Freshman Mike Hughes, who pitched three scoreless innings before the ninth, walked Johnny Bladel and gave up a single to Townsend. Hughes would get the next two outs, but gave up doubles Matt Browning and Garner to make it 11-7. Sophomore Brad Goldberg came in and would get Kent Burford out on a bunt single to end the game.
Five Chants had two hits apiece in the win, while Woodward, Bowman, LaStella and Iglesias drove in a pair of runs. For James Madison, Townsend was 3-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBI and Browning had two hits.
Meo earned the win, pitching five innings and allowing six hits, three earned runs while striking out six. Hughes struck out four and gave up three hits in 3.2 innings of relief. The loss was tagged to Turner Phelps, who gave up five hits and five earned runs with three strikeouts in four innings of work.
In the first game of Baseball at the Beach, North Carolina State scored five runs in the bottom of the 10th inning to defeat UC Irvine 7-4.
Coastal Carolina will play a doubleheader with #4 UC Irvine Saturday, Feb. 27 starting at 12 p.m., at BB&T Coastal Field.