March 23, 2012
CONWAY - Rich Witten had a three-run double in game two and Luke Willis hit a two-run double to help the Chants (15-6) win 7-4 in the second game of a doubleheader over Albany (5-14) Friday night at Watson Stadium/Vrooman Field. The Chanticleers have now won eight straight.
The teams played a doubleheader Friday (Coastal won game one, 3-2) due to the threat of inclement weather Saturday. The programs had discussed attempting to play a single game Saturday, but the forecast is not favorable. The series will conclude, as scheduled, on Sunday at 2 pm. Prior to the game, Coastal Carolina will present members of the 2011 Chanticleer baseball squad their championship rings. Coastal has won each of the last Big South regular season and tournament titles, setting a conference record in the process.
Witten was 3-for-3 with three RBI in game two. The senior captain raised his batting average 28 points to .293 and has now reached base safely (hit/walk/hit by pitch) in 18 straight games. Jacob May added two hits.
Game two started in near identical fashion. With two out and two on in the first inning, D.J. Hoagboon reached on an error, allowing Pete DiResta, who was hit by a pitch, to score and give the Great Danes a 1-0 lead.
The lead would be short lived. May and Justin Creel had lead off singles and, after a sacrifice bunt, Daniel Bowman loaded the bases as he was hit by a pitch. Facing a 1-2 count, Witten laced a double down the third base line to bring home the three runs for a 3-1 lead.
Albany took advantage of an error to score once in the third to make the score 3-2. Nolan Gaige had a leadoff single and Joey Tracy reached on a throwing error, which would put runners on second and third. Gaige would score on a wild pitch and the Danes loaded the bases after back-to-back walks. However, Tyler Herb induced an inning-ending double play to limit the damage.
Coastal scored twice in the fourth, thanks to an Albany error. Witten and Sloan Gilliam had leadoff walks. Chris Suseck laid down a sacrifice bunt, but a throwing error allowed Witten and Gilliam to score for a 5-2 lead.
The runs proved key as the Great Danes answered with two in the top of the fifth. Joey Tracy walked to start the frame and, two batters later, scored on Mike Tirri's single. Tirri would later score on Greg Muller's RBI single to center, making it a one-run game (5-4).
The Chants padded their advantage in the eighth. Witten had a leadoff double and Gilliam singled. Two batters later, Willis doubled down the right field line, plating Witten and Gilliam and marking the first two RBI for Willis' career.
Herb (3-1) was credited with the win, pitching five complete. He allowed five hits and four runs (two earned) with three walks and five strikeouts. Freshman Austin Kerr, whose previous career long was 1.2 innings, pitched 3.0 scoreless, allowing one hit and striking out two, to bridge the gap to Ryan Connolly. Connolly earned his fifth save of the season, allowing a hit and striking out one in the ninth inning.
Albany starter Sean Lucas was effective, but fell to 1-3 on the season. He allowed six hits and five runs (three earned) over six innings of work.