May 17, 2011
CONWAY - The game started an hour and 13 minutes late due to rain, but the wait was well worth it as #26 Coastal Carolina (35-17) cruised to a 12-3 win over UNC Wilmington (28-25) Tuesday night at Watson Stadium/Vrooman Field, giving Chanticleer head coach Gary Gilmore his 900th career win.
Gilmore becomes the 22nd active NCAA Division I coach to reach the 900-win plateau. The University will officially recognize Gilmore with a ceremony on Friday (May 20) prior to the Charleston Southern game, with first pitch set for 6 pm. Gilmore is in his 22nd year as a head coach and his record stands at 900-422-2. He is in his 16th year at CCU, amassing a 644-320 mark, and he was 256-102-2 in six years at USC Aiken.
In addition to Gilmore's 900th win, several other storylines transpired in the win. First, senior Scott Woodward returned to the lineup after playing in just two games over the last nine due to an injury suffered ironically at UNC Wilmington on April 26. Woodward, who extended his hit streak to 14 games, showed no signs of rust, going 3-for-4 with two RBI, a stolen base, two runs scored and was hit by two pitches. Woodward now has 243 career runs scored, four shy of the CCU and Big South records, and 152 career stolen bases, eight shy of the CCU and Big South records.
In addition to Woodward, Tommy La Stella extended his hit streak, getting it to 12 games, by going 3-for-3 with a double, two RBI and a run scored. Also, Rich Witten, who has a hit in 17 of his last 18 games, was 2-for-6 Tuesday with three RBI, while Tripp Martin added two hits and T.J. Young had a career game with three hits.
Coastal struck first in the bottom of the first. Woodward did what he does best. First, he was hit by a pitch. Then, he stole second and took third on ground ball. La Stella followed with an RBI, infield single for a 1-0 CCU lead and a 12-game hit streak for the junior.
Coastal loaded the bases in the fourth. After an out, Tripp Martin doubled, T.J. Young had an infield single and Woodward had a bunt single. With the bunt single, Woodward extended his hit streak to 15 games. New Seahawk pitcher Andrew Harnage came in to face Witten, who cleared the bases with a three-run triple down the right field line. La Stella followed with a sacrifice fly to plate Witten and give the Chants a 6-0 lead.
The Chants padded their advantage with two runs in the fifth, making the score 8-0. Tucker Frawley drew a leadoff walk and, after an out, Martin walked. Two batters later, Woodward cleared the bases with a two-run triple to right-center field, his first triple of the season and seventh of his career.
The Seahawks got on the board in the sixth. David Shambley had a leadoff double, moved to third on a ground out and scored on Hunter Ridge's RBI ground out.
Coastal answered in the home half, scoring four runs to go up 12-1. La Stella had a leadoff double, Taylor Motter walked and Orton reached on a bunt single. John Fidanza just missed a grand slam - hitting a ball to the wall, but it would serve as a sacrifice fly to bring home La Stella. May followed with an RBI single. Young reached on an infield hit, but a throwing error would allow two runs to score. Woodward capped the inning with an infield single that scored May.
In the seventh, UNC Wilmington took advantage of a Coastal error to score two in the seventh. Thomas Pope started the frame with an infield single and scored on a three-base error off Ryan LaGrange's fly ball to left. LaGrange then scored on a wild pitch.
Jim Birmingham (3-2) got the win, pitching five shutout innings. He allowed three hits and two walks with four strike outs. For the Seahawks, starter Justin Bradley (3-5) was saddled with the loss, allowing five hits and two runs over 2.1 innings.
Coastal Carolina will conclude the 2011 regular season with three home games this week, hosting rival Charleston Southern. Games will be Thursday (May 19) at 6 pm, Friday at 6 pm and Saturday at 2 pm.