#26 Coastal Carolina Ties #20 Louisiana, 7-7; Ties Series
CONWAY - Coastal Carolina and Louisiana split the first two games of the weekend series and could not decide the winner of the rubber match as the 26th-ranked Chanticleers and 20th-ranked Ragin' Cajuns tied 7-7 after nine innings Sunday afternoon at Springs Brooks Stadium. The teams, tied after eight innings, both scored two runs in the ninth, but a travel curfew forced the game to end. (Prior to the game, it was determined no inning would start after 2 pm.)
Coastal (20-11-1 overall, 8-3-1 Sun Belt) records its first tie since 1983, its first in year 22 under head coach Gary Gilmore -- and just the second in program history. Louisiana (18-13-1, 7-4-1) registers just their second tie in this the 23rd year of head coach Tony Robicheaux's tenure at UL.
Down 5-0 after three innings, Louisiana scored a run in the fourth, two in the fifth and two in the eighth to knot the game at 5-5.
The ninth inning began just four minutes before the curfew deadline of 2 pm, which allowed the teams to play out what proved to be the final frame.
The Ragin' Cajuns scored a quick run to start the ninth inning as Brad Antchak hit a leadoff double, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Ishmael Edwards and scored on an RBI single by Brenn Conrad. Joe Robbins moved Edwards and Conrad up to third and second, respectively, on a sacrifice bunt. The played key as a wild pitch on an attempted intentional walk allowed Edwards to score to put UL up 7-5.
Undaunted, Coastal, which scored for runs in the ninth to win 9-8 Saturday, got a leadoff double from Billy Cooke. Two batters later, Jordan Gore singled and a walk to Kevin Woodall Jr., loaded the bases with one out. Peyton Isaacson lined a single to center to drive in Cooke while a misplay in the outfield allowed Gore to score and tie the game. With runners on first and second, Dalton Ewing had a good at bat, facing nine pitches and just missing a potential game-winning hit down the left field line that hooked just foul. Ewing gathered himself before hitting a line drive to third. Robbins snagged the hot shot and was able to turn a double play at second to end the contest.
Cooke (3-for-4 with a HR) and Gore (3-for-4 with two doubles) paced the Chanticleer offense. Woodall was 1-for-1, hitting a three-run home run, with four walks. Keiton Rivers added two hits.
In games one and two, it was Louisiana that got on the scoreboard first with home runs. Sunday, Coastal's Cooke broke into the scoring column with a two-run blast in the third inning. The home run marked Cooke's sixth of the year and he drove in Rivers, who started the frame with a leadoff single. Cory Wood followed with a walk and Gore hit his second double in an may at bats. Woodall then hit his 12th home run of the season and the three-run dinger gave CCU a 5-0 lead.
The Ragin Cajuns answered with a run in the top of the fourth. Edwards doubled to right-center field, moved to third on a ground out and scored on an RBI ground out by Robbins.
Louisiana chipped away in the fifth inning, scoring twice. With one out, UL loaded the bases on a hit batter, double and walk. Antchak found a hole on the right side of the infield to drive in Todd Lott. Edwards followed with an RBI single back up the middle to plate Alex Pinero to make the score 5-3. The Cajuns threatened for more as Conrad roped a line drive. However, CCU's Gore caught the line drive and doubled off Edwards at second to limit the damage.
A leadoff error, a hit batter and three walks by Coastal led to Louisiana tying the game in the top of the eighth. Edwards started the eighth by reaching on an error. After a ground out and pop out, pinch hitter Steven Sensley singled and Kennon Fontenot was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Lott and Pinero drew back-to-back RBI walks to tie the game at 5-5. With bases still loaded, Austin Kitchen came out of the bullpen and induced an inning-ending ground out to keep the game tied.
Zack Hopeck started and lasted 4.1 innings. He allowed two hits and three runs with no walks and three strikeouts. Bobby Holmes pitched 3.1 innings in relief, allowing four hits and two unearned runs. Kitchen worked the final 1.1 innings and surrendered two runs on two hits.
Coastal will hit the road for a five-game road trip, starting Tuesday at nationally-ranked Wake Forest. First pitch in Winston-Salem, N.C., is set for 6 pm. The Chanticleers will then go directly to South Alabama for a three-game series that will be played Thursday (6:30 pm CT), Friday (6:30 pm CT) and Saturday (1 pm CT).