April 3, 2011
CONWAY - Matt Laney struck out six of the nine batters he faced and Rich Witten scored the winning run in the eighth as Coastal Carolina swept Liberty for the weekend with a 5-4 decision Sunday afternoon at Watson Stadium/Vrooman Field.
With the game tied at 4-4 in the eighth, Witten reached on a one-out, infield hit to third base. After he stole second and moved to third on a ground out, Scott Woodward hit a ground ball to the second baseman for an apparent third out. However, the ball was bobbled, allowing Woodward to reach safely and Witten to score what proved to be the game winner.
Laney (1-1) allowed a bunt single to the first batter he faced in the seventh, but Ian Parmley was thrown out attempting to steal second. From that point, Laney, who did not allow a run or a walk over his three innings, retired the next eight, six by strike outs. He ended the eighth with back-to-back strike outs then opened the ninth with back-to-back strike outs. The game ended with Witten catching a pop up in foul territory.
Liberty struck first, putting one on the board in the first. Parmley led off with an infield single, stole second and scored on Matt Williams' RBI single.
In the second with one out, Liberty loaded the bases on three consecutive singles by Michael Robertson, Zach Haley and Jeff Jefferson. Parmley plated pinch runner Ryan Cordell, who entered when Robertson injured himself rounding third on Jefferson's single, with an RBI single to center to keep the bases loaded. Casey Rasmus lined out to center, but the ball was deep score Haley and make the score 3-0.
In the home half of the second, with two outs, Keith Hardwick was hit by a pitch. Frawley followed with a single to left-center field, putting runners on the corners. Witten found a hole between shortstop and third to drive in Hardwick and cut the CCU deficit to two, 3-1. Coastal would load the bases after a Flames' error, but LU starter Steven Evans got a strike out to limit the damage.
The Flames got that run back in the fifth, going up 4-1. Parmley and Rasmus drew back-to-back walks. Williams plated Parmley with a single to center. From that point, the Flames' aggressive base-running turned into outs. With runners on the corners, Williams stolen second. On the play, Rasmus tried to score from third, but was thrown out at home by shortstop Taylor Motter. On the next play, Doug Bream singled to left and Williams tried to score from second but was thrown out at home by left fielder Jacob May.
The Chants tied the game at 4-4 with three runs in the seventh. Woodward led off with an infield single, Hayes Orton was hit by a pitch and the two stole third and second, respectively. La Stella brought home Woodward with an RBI ground out to first. Bowman followed with an RBI double to center. After Motter was hit by a pitch, Hardwick brought home the tying run, Bowman, with a single through the left side of the infield.
Josh Conway started for Coastal, but did not figure in the decision. He pitched five innings, allowing eight hits, four runs and two walks with four strike outs. Jordan Coons bridged the gap between Conway and Laney, striking out one and hitting one batter in his one inning.
For Liberty, Parmley led the way, going 3-for-3 with a walk, an RBI and two runs scored. Williams added two hits and two RBI. Starting pitcher Steven Evans, like, Conway, did not figure in the decision. The lefty pitched seven innings, allowing nine hits and four runs with no walks and six strike outs. Josh Richardson (0-1) suffered the loss, allowing one hit and one unearned run in his lone inning.
Coastal Carolina, who moved from second-to-last to first in the Big South standings this weekend, will return to action Tuesday, May 5, at intrastate rival Clemson. First pitch at Doug Kingsmore Stadium is 6:30 pm.