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Baseball Sweeps Doubleheader from VMI, Takes All Three Games of Big South Series

Baseball Sweeps Doubleheader from VMI, Takes All Three Games of Big South Series

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CONWAY, S.C. – The 23rd-ranked Coastal Carolina University baseball team (39-13, 18-5 Big South) completed a three-game sweep of VMI (16-32, 9-15 Big South) by taking both ends of a doubleheader May 10 in Conway, S.C. Coastal Carolina won the first game 8-0 and took the nightcap 4-2. Pitching was the story of the day, as the Chanticleers gave up just seven hits in the two games.   Sophomore Cody Wheeler (Spotsylvania, Va./Spotsylvania) gave up just one hit in seven innings pitched in the opener. It was a leadoff single by Graham Sullivan in the fifth. He struck out nine and walked just one. It also was the third time this season that Wheeler has given up a hit or less in a game in which he went seven or more innings pitched.   Coastal Carolina got on the board in the second inning, plating two runs. Senior Tyler Bortnick (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) reached on a fielding error from Tanner Biagini to lead off. He scampered to third on a single from freshman Daniel Bowman (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby). Bortnick would score on a sacrifice bunt from freshman Taylor Motter (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Palm Beach Gardens). Junior Jose Iglesias (Miami, Fla./St. John’s) then brought in Bowman with a double to straightaway center field.   Redshirt freshman Rich Witten (Danville, Ky./Danville) led off the fifth inning with a double. He went to third on a sacrifice bunt from freshman Steve Davis (Steubenville, Ohio/Steubenville) and scored on an infield single from sophomore Rico Noel (Lawton, Okla./Lawton). Bortnick then was hit by a pitch to open the sixth. He stole second, went to third on a passed ball on a pitchout and scored on a throwing error by catcher Alex Haitsuka. Motter then singled to right, moved to third on another Iglesias double and scored on a sacrifice fly from Witten.   Coastal Carolina added insurance in the seventh, scoring three runs on Bowman’s 10th home run of the season. He tied the Coastal Carolina freshman home run record, set in 1998 by Brooks Marzka and Steve Tylke. Junior Caleb Cuevas (Fletcher, N.C./Louisburg J.C.) and redshirt freshman Keith Hessler (Silver Spring, Md./Springbrook) each pitched a scoreless inning to preserve the shutout for the Chants, their fifth of the season.   Bowman had two hits and three RBI, while Motter and Iglesias had two hits apiece. Bortnick added three runs scored.   The loss was tagged to Chris Henderson. He gave up 10 hits and four earned runs in seven innings.   The second game was a pitcher’s duel between freshman Anthony Meo (Cranston, R.I./Cranston West) and VMI’s Matt Edwards. Meo struck out a career high 10 batters, allowing just three hits and a run in six-plus innings. Edwards scattered five hits and three runs with five strikeouts in seven innings.   Coastal Carolina broke through in the third, scoring three runs off Edwards. Davis reached on an infield single to open the frame. He moved to second as Noel was hit by a pitch. Both runners tagged on a flyout from junior Adam Rice (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Elgin C.C.). Edwards would intentionally walk senior David Anderson (Lexington, S.C./White Knoll) to load the bases, but walked Bortnick to bring in a run. Bowman brought in a run with an infield single, while Witten would make it 3-0 as he was hit by a pitch with the bases juiced.   The score would remain 3-0 until the top of the seventh. Biagini led off the inning with a single. Meo would be replaced by sophomore Matt Rein (Houston, Texas/Langham Creek) on the mound. Rein got a fielder’s choice and a strike out, but Brian Sandridge hit his sixth home run of the season to cut the Chant lead to 3-2.   Coastal Carolina added insurance in the eighth, as Bowman doubled to the gap in left field, scoring Anderson, who singled to open the inning. Senior Bobby Gagg (Hamburg, N.J./Wallkill) picked up his second save of the season, throwing the final 1.2 innings with one strikeout.   Anderson and Bowman had two hits apiece for Coastal Carolina, while Jacob Morley was 2-for-3 for the Keydets.   Meo moved to 7-2 on the season with the win. He is only one win away from tying Steven Carter for most wins in a season by a Chanticleer freshman.   Coastal Carolina will wrap up the regular season with a three-game series against Charleston Southern in Conway. The first game will take place Thursday, May 14 at 6 p.m. VMI hosts High Point the same night at 6 p.m.