Coastal Carolina's Jacob May tripled off the glove of a sprinting Hughston Armstrong with one out in the seventh and scored on a sacrifice fly by Alex Buccilli for what proved to be the game-winning run in a 3-2 victory over The Citadel on Tuesday night at Riley Park.
The Chanticleers (16-12) defeated the Bulldogs (16-13) for the 10th time in the past 11 meetings and eighth time in the last nine games at Riley Park despite getting only four hits off five Citadel pitchers. The two teams will meet again Wednesday at 6 p.m. at TicketReturn.com Field in Myrtle Beach.
The game was tied 2-2 when May lofted a drive into the alley in right center offKevin Connell. Armstrong reached high over his head as he reached the ball on a dead run but was unable to haul it in as May raced all the way to third.
The lead held up due to the work of Coastal reliever Austin Kerr, who allowed only three hits with three strikeouts and no walks in five shutout innings. Kerr (2-0) retired the final 10 Bulldogs, aided in no small part by a diving catch by May on the warning track in left center that robbed Mason Davis of at least a triple leading off the eighth.
Freshman right hander Austin Livingston turned in a solid start for The Citadel but was not involved in the decision. He worked the first four innings and gave up only two hits and one run. Connell (0-1) gave up two hits and two runs (one earned) and struck out a pair in 2 1/3 innings, and the combination of Sherrill, James Reeves and David Rivera did not allow a hit over the final two frames.
Sherrill was appearing in his 11th straight game and 24th overall this season, the most of any pitcher in Division I baseball. Rivera, who also ranks among the national leaders in games pitched, took the mound for the 21st time on the year.
The Bulldogs scored single runs in the first and third innings to take a 2-0 lead against Coastal starter Alex Cunningham. Joe Jackson drew a two-out walk in the first and scored on a double by Bo Thompson. Two innings later Drew DeKerlegand launched a solo homer to right, his third of the season.
DeKerlegand had two hits on the night to snap a 4-for-29 skid. Thompson's base hit enabled him to continue his streak of having reached safely in all 25 of his games this season and 28 in a row dating back to the end of the 2012 campaign.
The Chanticleers cut the Bulldog lead in half in the fourth when Will Remillard doubled just past the diving effort of DeKerlegand in the left field corner and narrowly beat Griffin's throw home on a single to right by Jake Kane.
Coastal pulled into a 2-2 tie in the sixth in unusual fashion. With two on and one out, Kane reached on a bunt single and Remillard, running from second, came all the way around to score when the ball got away from Connell covering first for an error.
Connell was able to avoid further damage by striking out pinch hitter Luke Willis and getting an acrobatic catch at short by Johnathan Stokes on a bases loaded line drive off the bat of Nick Oberg.