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Baseball Comes From Behind to Defeat Elon 11-10

Baseball Comes From Behind to Defeat Elon 11-10

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ELON, N.C. – The 19th-ranked Coastal Carolina University baseball team (25-7) fought back from a five-run deficit on two occasions to Elon (17-11), scoring nine runs from the fifth through seventh innings in an 11-10 win over the Phoenix April 7 in Elon, N.C. Coastal Carolina moves to 5-2 in one-run games and earn its sixth game in a row.   Elon’s first two hitters went down quietly in the bottom of the first, but redshirt freshman Keith Hessler (Silver Spring, Md./Springbrook) walked Chase Austin, and then gave up a two-run opposite-field home run to Pat Irvine. Hessler allowed a double to Bennett Davis before striking out Mike Melillo to end the inning.   Elon used more two-out magic in the second. Alex Maruri singled with two gone. He advanced to second on a single by Justin Hilt. The Phoenix loaded the bases as Cory Harrilchak walked. Austin then drove all the runners in with a double down the left field line.   Coastal Carolina answered with two runs in the third, also scoring with two outs. Sophomore Rico Noel (Lawton, Okla./Lawton) doubled with two outs. He stole third and junior Adam Rice (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Elgin C.C.) followed by being hit by a pitch. Senior Tyler Bortnick (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) reached on a Maruri error, scoring Noel and putting the Chants on the board. Senior David Anderson (Lexington, S.C./White Knoll) followed by ripping a double to left to score Rice, making it 5-2 Elon. Elon got both of those runs back in the bottom of the third, as Neal Pritchard hit a two-run home run to left off junior Caleb Cuevas (Fletcher, N.C./Louisburg J.C.).   Coastal Carolina sent 11 men to the plate in the top of the fifth, as the Chants took an 8-7 lead. With one out, Rice reached on an infield single. He would trot home on Bortnick’s sixth home run of the season. Anderson followed with a double and junior Jose Iglesias (Miami, Fla./St. John’s) reached on an error by Austin. Jared Kernodle would walk freshman Daniel Bowman (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) and redshirt freshman Rich Witten (Danville, Ky./Danville), the latter scoring a run. Freshman Steve Davis (Steubenville, Ohio/Steubenville) came up with the big hit, a bases-clearing double to the right field gap, making it 8-7 Chants.   Bortnick hit his second home run of the game to lead off the top of the sixth. His shot hugged the foul pole in left field. Anderson then hit his 40th career home run in the top of the seventh. His two-run blast to left center was his 11th of the season and scored Bortnick, who walked earlier in the inning.   Elon cut the Chanticleer lead to 11-10 in the bottom of the eighth. Mike Melillo and Pritchard doubled to lead off the inning. Pinch hitter Dallas Tarleton then doubled to right to make it 11-9. Tarleton would move to third on a groundout from Scott Riddle and scored on a groundout by Justin Hilt. Freshman Tommy Winegardner (St. Leonard, Md./Riverdale Baptist) got Harrilchak to groundout to end the inning.   In the bottom of the ninth, junior closer Nick McCully (Lakeland, Fla./Santa Fe Catholic) retired Chase Austin to lead off the inning, but gave up a double to Pat Irvine. McCully induced another pop out to Davis, but walked Melillo. Pritchard flew out to center to end the game.   Anderson was 3-for-5 with three RBI, while Bortnick and Davis had three RBI apiece. For Elon, Irvine was 3-for-5 with two RBI while Pritchard and Austin drove in three runs apiece.   Sophomore Matt Rein (Houston, Texas/Langham Creek) earned the win in relief, pitching four innings and allowing five hits and two runs with five strikeouts. McCully earned his seventh save on the season with the scoreless ninth.   Coastal Carolina stays in the Tar Heel State to face Wake Forest Wednesday, April 8 at 6 p.m.