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Baseball Uses Longball to Open Gardner-Webb Series with an 11-6 Win

Baseball Uses Longball to Open Gardner-Webb Series with an 11-6 Win

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CONWAY, S.C. – The 19th-ranked Coastal Carolina University baseball team (22-7, 4-2 Big South) belted six home runs and junior Adam Rice (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Elgin C.C.) went 5-for-5 with two home runs and four runs-batted-in in the 11-6 win over Gardner-Webb (14-11, 4-3 Big South) April 3 in Conway, S.C.   The Chanticleers scored in each of the first four innings off Gardner-Webb starter Aaron Haynes. In the first, sophomore Rico Noel (Lawton, Okla./Lawton) led off the game with a single. He stole second and trotted home on Rice’s two-run home run to left field. Gardner-Webb answered with an unearned run in the second. Kurt Fulginiti led off the inning with a walk. Justin Loyd reached on an error and both runners moved up a base on a strikeout by sophomore Cody Wheeler (Spotsylvania, Va./Spotsylvania) to Ty Boyles. Fulginiti then scored on a groundout by Matt Rizzuto.   Coastal Carolina put up four unearned runs in the second. Junior Jose Iglesias (Miami, Fla./St. John’s) and freshman Daniel Bowman (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) both reached on fielding errors to open the inning. Freshman Taylor Motter (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Palm Beach Gardens) brought them home with a three-run home run to left field. Noel then took a 2-0 pitch by Haynes out to left center field, making it 6-1 Coastal Carolina. A Bowman double to left scored redshirt junior Chance Gilmore (Surfside Beach, S.C./Virginia) in the third for a six-run Chanticleer advantage.    In the fourth, Noel was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. He stole second and scored on double to the right field gap by Rice.    Wheeler had another outstanding outing, allowing no hits through the first six innings. He had a streak of 17.1 innings without giving up a hit. Loyd ended the no-hitter threat by singling up the middle on the first pitch of the seventh inning. Boyles then homered to left field, making it 8-2. Two batters later, Bubbie Spake homered to left center field. Redshirt senior Kent Altman (Conway, S.C./Conway) came in and gave up a double to Tyler Johnson. Altman would get Brock Miller to ground out, but Jon Ahearn singled up the middle to score Johnson, cutting the lead to 8-5. Junior Caleb Cuevas (Fletcher, N.C./Louisburg J.C.) got the Chants out of a jam by getting Daniel Cooke to strike out to end the inning.   The Chants came right back in the bottom of the seventh, as Iglesias and Bowman hit back-to-back home runs, making it 10-5 Coastal Carolina. In the eighth, Fulginiti homered for Gardner-Webb, but Rice matched it with his second home run of the day and third of the season in the bottom of the eighth.   Wheeler earns his sixth win of the season, pitching 6.1 innings and allowing three earned runs and three hits with eight strikeouts and three walks. Cuevas earned his first save of the season by striking out two in 2.1 innings. The loss was tagged to Haynes, who allowed 13 hits and six earned runs in seven innings pitched.   Noel and Bowman had two hits apiece, while Motter drove in three runs. For Gardner-Webb, Ahearn had two hits while Boyles brought in a pair of runs. The two teams meet for the second game of the series Saturday, April 4 at 3 p.m., at Watson Stadium/Vrooman Field.