JONESBORO, AR - Jason Bilous struck out nine and Jay Causey fanned four to lead #30 Coastal Carolina to a 3-1 victory over Arkansas State Friday night in the teams' Sun Belt opener at Tomlinson Stadium/Kell Field.
All four runs in the game were scored in the third inning with the Chanticleers improving to 13-7 overall, 1-0 in the Sun Belt, while the Red Wolves fall to 8-6, 0-1. Game two of the series is set for 6:30 pm (CT)/7:30 pm (ET) on Saturday.
Bilous improved to 3-0 as he tied his career high with nine strikeouts, a feat he has accomplished three times and twice this season. Bilous did have a hiccup in the third inning, but otherwise he was impressive. The junior went 1-2-3 in the first and, after allowing two hits to start the second, retired three straight. In the third, Bilous walked four to force in Arkansas State's lone run. From that point, he retired 14 of his last 15 with eight strikeouts while having six walks on the evening.
Causey recorded his first save. The Conway native worked the final two innings and only faced seven batters, striking out four.
Lee Sponseller and Keaton Weisz each had two hits as the Chanticleers out-hit the Red Wolves 7-3.
Coastal used a one-out hit by Matt Beaird to start a three-run third inning. After Beaird's single, Seth Lancaster, who leads the NCAA in doubles, added to his total with a double down the right field line, moving Beaird to third. Cory Wood hit what was sacrifice fly to left, but a drop allowed Beaird to score while putting Lancaster on third and Wood on second. Lancaster later scored on a passed ball and, two pitches later, Wood scored on a wild pitch.
The Red Wolves took advantage of four walks to get on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third. Drew Tipton drew a leadoff walk and Grant Hawkins followed with a walk. After a strikeout, Jeremy Brown walked to load the bases and Kyle McDonald walked to force home Tipton. However, Bilous limited the damage by getting a pop put and a strikeout.
After that fourth walk in the third inning, Bilous retired the next 12 batters he faced with seven strikeouts until allowing a one-out walk in the seventh. He responded by getting a fly out and ground out to end the seventh inning.