CCU

Coastal Carolina Baseball Escapes with 3-2 Win Over Winthrop

Ryan Connolly pitched in his 124th career game, which ties for 19th on the NCAA all-time list

       

Luke Willis was 2-for-5 and scored the game winning run in the 11th at Winthrop.

Luke Willis was 2-for-5 and scored the game winning run in the 11th at Winthrop.

April 12, 2013

ROCK HILL - With bases loaded and no outs in the bottom of the 11th with Coastal Carolina clinging to a 3-2 lead, Ryan Connolly got two pop outs and a strikeout for his eighth save and lift the Chanticleers to a series-opening win at Winthrop Friday night. Coastal Carolina improves to 22-12 overall and 8-2 in the Big South Conference while Winthrop falls to 12-23, 2-8.

Coastal Carolina took its 3-2 lead in the top of the 11th. With one out, Luke Willis, who went 2-for-5, reached on an infield single and moved to second on a hit-and-run ground out. Zach Remillard then fisted a bloop single just between the shortstop and left fielder, allowing Willis to score from second in what proved to be the game winner.

In the bottom of the 11th, Luke Maldonado singled. From that point, CCU head coach turned to Connolly to relief Patrick Corbett (1-2). Austen Barber followed with a single up the middle. Winthrop would load the bases when Kyle Edwards laid down a sacrifice bunt. Connolly tried to throw out Maldonado at third, but the throw was late. Max Vogel and Cody Dolan both hit pop up to right field but neither were deep enough to score. Connolly closed the game getting Leighton Daniels to strike out swinging to end the contest.

This marked Coastal's second consecutive extra innings win, beating the College of Charleston at home in 14 innings on Wednesday. Also, Coastal - winners of seven straight and 13 of its last 15 - has played four extra-inning games over its last 10, posting a 3-1 record.

Coastal quickly got on the board as Ted Blackman hit the fourth pitch of the game over the right field wall for his third home run of the season. It marked the first leadoff home run by a Chanticleer since Scott Woodward did the same on April 15, 2011 versus Gardner-Webb.

Coastal added a run in the third inning. Justin Creel, who was 2-for-5, hit a one-out double and scored on Will Remillard's two-out single to center.

Winthrop got on the board in the fourth. Jace Whitley and Matt Lobacz had leadoff singles and Clay Altman was hit by a pitch to load the bases. The Eagles scored when Chad Smith hit into a double play. CCU starter Ben Smith kept it a 2-1 game as he struck out Barber to end the inning.

The Eagles tied the game in the sixth. Daniels walked to start the home half and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. After a ground out, Coastal looked to get out of the inning with a ground ball, but an error allowed Daniels to score and tied the game at 2-2.

In the eighth, Coastal had runners on second and third but could not convert as Chris Suseck was retired on a bang-bang play at first for the final out.

In the ninth, Winthrop loaded the bases with two outs before Patrick Corbett got Daniel to strike out swinging to force extra innings.

For Coastal, Smith pitched well but did not factor in the decision. The sophomore allowed five hits and two runs (one earned) with two walks and five strikeouts. Corbett earned his first win of the season, pitching 2.1 scoreless innings. He allowed three hits and one walk with two strikeouts.

For Winthrop, Matt Pierpont shook off a slow start to last 7.1 innings, allowing seven hits and two runs with three walks and four strikeouts. Sam Kmiec (1-5) suffered the loss, allowing four hits and one runs over 3.2 innings with no walks and three strikeouts.

Coastal Carolina and Winthrop will play game two of the three game series at 3 pm on Saturday.