CONWAY, S.C. Freshman David Sappelt (Saxapahaw, N.C./Graham) belted a three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth that gave the Coastal Carolina University baseball team (27-25, 13-9 Big South) a lead it would never relinquish in a 7-3 victory over UNC Asheville (24-30, 10-12, Big South) May 19 in Conway, S.C. Coastal also received a complete-game performance by junior Andy DeLaGarza (Ossian, Ind./Norwell) to win its fifth straight contest.
DeLaGarza gave up a double to Steve Burnich and a two-run home run to Elliott Arrington in the first, but came right back in the bottom of the frame. Junior Chris Raber (Coplay, Pa./Whitehall) reached on an error to start the inning. He went to third on a double by junior Adam Vrable (Bay City, Mich./Grand Rapids C.C.). Sophomore Tommy Baldridge (Fort Mill, S.C./Fort Mill) brought home Raber on a groundout and junior Matt Sutton (La Grange, N.C./UNC Wilmington) drove in Vrable on a groundout to first, tying the game at two.
DeLaGarza and UNCAs Alan DeRatt then traded zeroes until the top of the sixth, when Arrington hit his second home run of the game, a shot down the right field line. Coastal started the sixth on an infleld single by Sutton. He stole second and went to third on a single by junior John Mariotti (Toronto, Ontario/Gulf Coast C.C.). Both came home as Sappelt drilled a 1-2 pitch to left field for his fifth home run of the season. After a single by senior Aaron Verrett (Jupiter, Fla./Polk C.C.) and a double from freshman Tyler Bortnick (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor), Raber bunted back to DeRatt, who orginally looked to third but went to first to try to get Raber. His throw was off the mark and both Verrett and Bortnick scored, giving the Chants the final 7-3 count.
DeLaGarza threw his second complete game of the season, giving up seven hits, three runs and allowing no walks. The junior has not allowed a walk in 17 consecutive innings. DeRatt took the loss despite giving up only three earned runs. He struck out two and gave up nine hits.
Sutton and Bortnick had two hits apiece for the Chanticleers, while Sappelt drove in three. Raber was only 1-for-5, but reached base four times thanks to three Bulldog errors. For UNCA, Arrington and Matt Henson had two hits, while Arrington drove in three runs.
Coastal now has won five in a row and eight of the last 10. They are assured to finish no lower than fifth as CCU leads Asheville by three games.
The two teams will meet Saturday, May 20, at 6 p.m., in Watson Stadium/Vrooman Field.