April 29, 2011
CONWAY - Coastal Carolina All-American pitcher Anthony Meo struck out 10 over seven innings, while each of CCU's top four batters in the lineup each had two hits, to lead Coastal Carolina to an 8-2 victory over VMI Friday night at Watson Stadium/Vrooman Field. The Chanticleers improve to 28-15 overall, 12-4 in the Big South, while the Keydets fall to 21-20-1, 9-10.
Meo (6-3) scattered six hits and allowed two runs (one earned) with just one walk. The junior had struck out 10 on two previous occasions, equaling the feat with 10 in six innings versus VMI in a win as a freshman in Watson Stadium and fanning 10 in 7.1 innings in a win at Radford as a sophomore.
Meo, who improves to 18-3 all-time in Big South play, picks up his 28th career win (against just seven losses in 45 appearances) to tie former teammate Cody Wheeler for fifth on the Big South all-time wins list. Meo is one win from fourth (Winthrop's Kevin Slowey had 29 from 2003-05) with the top three on the Big South all-time wins list being Chanticleers (Steven Carter 42, Scott Sturkie 36 and Randy Stokes 33). Meo, with 10 strike outs Friday, also moved from 12th to ninth on the CCU career strike outs list with 235.
Bowman extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a single in the fifth. With three RBI Friday, Bowman has 147 for his career to tie Mark Howle (1987-90) for ninth on the school's career list. Witten, with two doubles on the night, now has a career-best nine-game hitting streak, batting .412 over the span.
VMI got on the board first, scoring once in the top of the second. Alex Haitsuka. blooped a single to center and, two batters later, Jacob Morley doubled off the center field wall. On the play, the ball was bobbled, allowing Haitsuka to score.
Coastal tied the game at 1-1 in the third. Bowman reached on a fielder's choice, stole second and scored on Witten's RBI double to center.
The Chants scored five in the fifth to take a 6-1 lead. Zach Lopes started the home half hitting the first pitch to left field. Hayes Orton was hit by a pitch and Tommy La Stella followed with a sacrifice bunt. On the play, a throwing error allowed La Stella to reach and go to second, while Orton advanced to third and Lopes scored. Bowman delivered an RBI single through the left side of the infield to plate Orton. Witten then brought home La Stella and Bowman with a double off the center field wall. Tucker Frawley capped the inning with an RBI single to center.
In the top of the sixth, VMI got a run back when Graham Sullivan launched a one-out home run over the left field wall, his fourth of the season.
Coastal answered with two in the bottom of the sixth for an 8-2 advantage. With one out, Orton chopped a single up the middle and La Stella doubled to put runners on second and third. Bowman followed with a two-run single to right-center field.
VMI starter Coby Cowgill (4-2) suffered the loss. He entered the game allowing just 6.1 hits per outing and opponents were batting just .195 off the sophomore. He would allow six runs (four earned and just six hits - but four in the fifth - with one walk and seven strike outs.
Coastal Carolina and VMI will play game two of the series Saturday at 2 pm and conclude the three-game set Sunday at 1 pm. Note, Sunday's game is a make-up of Thursday's postponed game so season ticket holders should present the Thursday game ticket on Sunday for admittance.
NOTES: Coastal, for the first time this season, had someone in the leadoff spot other than Scott Woodward (Hayes Orton) as Woodward missed the game with a foot injury suffered during Tuesday's win at UNC Wilmington ... Woodward is expected to miss the final two games this weekend and his status beyond that will be evaluated later ... Tommy La Stella flew out in his final at bat, snapping a streak of reaching base in 10 consecutive at bats spanning three games (finished the High Point series with a walk; at UNC Wilmington: walked, single, single, single and walk; and vs. VMI: single, hit by pitch, reached on error on sac bunt and double).