March 20, 2010
CHARLESTON, S.C. – The eighth-ranked Coastal Carolina University baseball team (17-3, 2-0 Big South) won a slugfest over Charleston Southern (8-12, 0-2 Big South) 29-13 March 20 in Charleston, S.C. Redshirt-sophomore Tommy La Stella hit for the cycle while four Chanticleers had four hits apiece.
Coastal Carolina pushed across three runs in the top of the first inning. Junior Rico Noel was hit by the first pitch from CSU’s Charlie McCready. The Buccaneer hurler then walked sophomore Steve Davis to put runners on first and second with no one out. McCready got seniors Jose Iglesias and Adam Rice to pop out, but La Stella doubled to the gap in right, scoring Noel while a fielding error from Tom Burkett brought home Davis. Sophomore Daniel Bowman then hit a towering pop up to shallow right field that was not caught by Bentley Christmas, scoring La Stella and giving the Chants a 3-0 lead.
Coastal then scored a pair of runs in the second. With one out, junior Scott Woodward singled through the left side. He stole second and scored on a double from Noel. With one out, Davis grounded out to short. Catcher Doug Woodall thought that there were three outs and ran to the bench. Noel noticed that and came home to make it 5-0 Chants.
Coastal scored three runs in the top of the third without the benefit of a hit. Stew Brase came in for the Bucs and walked Rice, La Stella and Bowman to load the bases. Tyler Vick came in and redshirt-senior Chance Gilmore hit into a fielder’s choice to score Rice. With two out, La Stella scored on a wild pitch, making it 7-0 Chants. After a walk to Woodward, Noel hit a grounder to third. Matt Still made a nice play, but his throw was high, allowing Gilmore to score.
Charleston Southern answered with three runs in the bottom of the third. Redshirt-junior Jim Birmingham retired the first Buc batter, but hit Tom Burkett and Jon Matthews. He then gave up singles to Nick Chinners and Still, making it 8-1. Tyler Thornburg then hit into a fielder’s choice to score Mathews, but a throwing error by sophomore Steve Davis brought in Chinners, making it 8-3 Coastal. Birmingham walked Walt Quattlebaum and threw a wild pitch on Patrick Dolan’s first pitch. Coastal then brought in freshman Josh Conway, who got Dolan to foul out to end the inning.
Charleston Southern then put up four runs in the fourth off Conway. He walked Jesse Cadenhead to start the inning. After a fly out, Tom Burkett belted his third home run of the year to make it 8-5 Chants. Chinners then doubled to left and trotted home on Still’s third home run of the year. Redshirt-senior Austin Fleet came in and struck out Thornburg to end the inning.
Coastal Carolina answered the Charleston Southern rally with four runs in the fifth. Bowman started the rally with a single to open the frame. He moved to third as Gilmore’s sacrifice bunt attempt was thrown away by Still. With one out, Woodward singled to right to score Bowman. Gilmore and Woodward would then score as Noel singled to left. Iglesias then brought in Noel with a single to left, making 12-7 Chants.
The Bucs kept on hitting in the fifth, cutting the lead to 12-10. Fleet walked Quattlebaum to open the frame. He went to second on a Dolan single and moved to third on a fielder’s choice from Christmas. Burkett doubled to left center to score Quattlebaum. Then, Matthews hit a chopped single to second base that scored Burkett from second. Fleet would get out of the inning as Chinners grounded out to end the frame.
Coastal would make it 15-10 in the sixth, scoring three runs. Sophomore Taylor Motter belted a two-run home run, his first of the season, scoring La Stella, who singled to open the inning. Woodward then hit a bad-hop single to right, stole second and scored on a Noel single to center.
The Chants added insurance in the eighth, scoring six runs in the inning. Bowman led off the frame with a single. He moved to third on a Gilmore single and scored on a Motter double to left. Gilmore scored as Noel’s pop up was dropped by Christmas. CSU hurler George Schaefer then walked Davis. Rice would bring in a pair of runs with a single to right and La Stella would end the scoring with a triple to right center, scoring Davis and Rice and giving the Chants a 21-10 advantage.
Charleston Southern would score three runs in the eighth, but the Chants came back to score eight runs in the top of the ninth. Junior Hayes Orton led off the inning with a single to right. He would trot home on Motter’s second home run of the game, a two-run shot to left center. Woodward followed with a home run to right. Noel singled, went to second on an error, to third on a wild pitch and scored on a bases loaded walk to redshirt-sophomore Keith Hardwick. La Stella would unload them and complete the cycle with a grand slam to right, making it 29-13.
There were many offensive stars in both dugouts. La Stella drove in seven and went 4-for-6 at the plate. He also had Coastal’s first cycle since Rice did the trick against VMI May 9, 2009. Noel was 4-for-6 with four RBI’s and five runs scored. Motter was 4-for-7 with five RBI’s and had his first multi-home run game of his career, while Woodward went 4-for-6 with four runs scored. For Charleston Southern, Burkett was 3-for-4 with four RBI’s and four runs scored. Chinners went 2-for-3 with two runs scored.
Coastal sets season-highs for runs and hits. It was the most by a Chant team since it scored 33 runs and had 36 hits in the 36-3 win over Stony Brook March 8.
Fleet earned the win in relief, striking out four and allowing four hits in 3.1 innings. He moves to 2-1 on the season. Birmingham allowed three runs and four hits with two strikeouts in 2.2 innings. McCready was tagged with the loss. He gave up three earned runs and four hits in two innings of work.
The three-game series between the Chants and Bucs wraps up Sunday, March 21 at 1 p.m. The game was moved up an hour due to the weather forecast in Charleston.