March 29, 2011
MYRTLE BEACH - Prior to a host of substitutions in the sixth inning, including Texas pitchers pitching to their own players over the final three innings, Coastal Carolina trailed the defending American League Champion Rangers just 2-1 Tuesday night in an exhibition game at BB&T Coastal Field. Texas would go on to win 6-2 before a standing-room only crowd of 6,599, just the 10th time the facility was filled to capacity.
In the top of the first, reigning Big South Player of the Week Tommy La Stella got the first hit of the game. In the home half, Matt Rein worked a perfect 1-2-3 inning with three ground outs. The highlight though was when Rein threw an impressive slider that fooled 2010 AL MVP Josh Hamilton and got a great reaction from the crowd.
In the second, Tucker Frawley singled and Taylor Motter walked but Texas Rangers' starter Alexi Ogando got a pair of strike outs to end the frame. In the home half, Coastal's Keith Hessler also worked a 1-2-3 inning, thanks to a great diving play in center field for the final out by Hayes Orton.
Coastal's Matt Laney kept the good pitching streak alive in the third, getting a 1-2-3 inning. Coastal once again got another great play to help the cause as Motter made a back-hand leaping catch on a broken-bat line drive for the out.
Texas got on the board in bottom of the fourth, scoring twice thanks to two hit batters and two singles. Two-time All-Star Ian Kinsler was hit by a pitch, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on Hamilton's RBI single back through the middle of the infield. Adrian Beltre was hit by a pitch and six-time All-Star Michael Young singled to center to drive in Hamilton.
The Chants got one run back in the top of the fifth. Keith Hardwick walked, advanced to second on a wild pitch and moved to third on a bloop-single down the left-field line. Scott Woodward hit into a double play with Hardwick scoring on the play to make the score 2-1.
Starting in the sixth, Texas pitchers began pitching to their own players, as well as still pitching to Coastal players with numerous substitutions on both sides.
With Texas' Neil Ramirez pitching to his teammates, Mike Napoli and Craig Gentry walked to open the bottom of the seventh. After a failed sacrifice bunt, Andres Blanco singled to load the bases. Catcher Doug Deeds lined a ball off Ramirez and the ball found its way to right field, scoring two. With two still on, Taylor Teagarden ripped a two-run double to right-center field, putting Texas up 6-1.
The Chants made the score 6-2 in the top of the ninth. Josh Frazier, a catcher for the Rangers batting in the CCU lineup, walked of Neftali Feliz. A single by Daniel Bowman advanced Frazier and, after a ground out put runners on the corners, Motter delivered an RBI single through the right side of the infield.
The last time Texas played a college team was 2003 when it hosted the University of Texas and defeated the Longhorns 17-1. The Rangers made their stop in Myrtle Beach this season to promote them being the new parent club of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, a high A team.
Coastal Carolina will end a nine-game road swing and return to regular-season play this weekend, hosting Liberty in a three-game weekend set at Watson Stadium/Vrooman Field. Friday's first pitch is set for 6 pm. Saturday's game, which will be a national ESPNU telecast, will start at 4 pm --following the Noon CCU Football team spring game at Brooks Stadium. The series will conclude Sunday at 2 pm.