March 7, 2011
CONWAY - Coastal Carolina got two hits each from its top six hitters and another sterling set of pitching performances to give the 24th-ranked Chanticleers a 10-2 win over Ball State Monday evening in the final game of the Caravelle Resort Invitational at Watson Stadium. (The game was originally set for Sunday, but rain forced the game to be pushed back one day.)
Scott Woodward, Hayes Orton, Tommy La Stella, Rich Witten, Daniel Bowman and Taylor Motter each had two hits for the Chants (8-4). La Stella, who hit a solo home run, added three RBI and Bowman hit two doubles. On the mound, Jim Birmingham (1-1) only allowed two hits and two unearned runs with two walks and six strike outs over six-plus innings to earn the win. From that point the bullpen continued its dominance as Ryan Connolly, Keith Hessler and Aaron Burke did not allow a hit or a run with two walks and six strikeouts over the final three innings.
For the three-game Caravelle Resort Invitational, Coastal's bullpen (adding Jimmy Coughlin, Matt Rein and Jordan Coons) did not allow a hit or a run with six walks and 14 strikeouts in 11 innings' work. The pitching staff as a whole only allowed eight hits in the three games, including three to Ball State Friday, two to Marshall Saturday and two today versus Ball State.
Coastal jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the third. Woodward started the home half with a single and moved third on an Orton single. A throwing error on the Orton single allowed Woodward to score and Orton to take third. La Stella followed with an RBI single to left-center field. With one out, Bowman doubled off the left-center field wall, driving in La Stella.
The Cardinals (1-9) got on the board, taking advantage of two Coastal errors to score two runs in the top of the fifth and make the score 3-2. Blake Beemer reached on an error and runners were on first and second after a Tim Issler single. Kevin Franchetti laid down a sacrifice bunt, but reached first on a throwing error, allowing Beemer to score and putting Issler on third. Two batters later, T.J. Baumet plated Issler with a sacrifice fly to center.
The Chants answered back in the home half of the fifth. Witten singled and, for the second time in as many bats, Bowman doubled off the wall. Motter grounded out to third, but it was good enough to serve as an RBI with Witten scoring and give CCU a 4-2 lead.
In the sixth, Coastal loaded the bases thanks to a John Fidanza walk, Woodward being hit by a pitch and a bunt single by Orton. La Stella brought in Fidanza with a walk, giving the Chants a 5-2 lead. CCU added two more runs in the bottom of the seventh. Motter walked and Josh Conway was hit by a pitch to start the home half. A sacrifice bunt by Fidanza moved each of the two up 90 feet. Mottter would score on a passed ball and Conway scored when Jacob May singled up the middle. It was the first career hit for May, who missed the first 11 games with an injury. He would also steal his first career base.
Ball State freshman Tyler Jordan came on in the eighth for his first career appearance and La Stella immediately deposited the first pitch he saw over the right field wall for his second home run of the season. Witten followed with a single and moved to second on a Bowman walk. Motter hit a slow roller to third for an infield hit. A throwing error on the play allowed Witten to score.
Coastal Carolina will travel to Winston-Salem to face ACC foe Wake Forest on Wednesday (Mar. 9). First pitch is set for 4 pm and the game will be broadcast the Chanticleer Sports Network.
This weekend, the Chants return home to host its final tournament, the Caravelle Resort Classic. The field includes perennial MAC power and NCAA participant Kent State, Big East power and NCAA participant Notre Dame and Conference USA foe UAB, coached by Brian Shoop who was at Birmingham-Southern while the Panthers were battling Coastal for Big South supremacy from 2004-06.