STATESBORO, GA - Jason Bilous struck out a career-high 10 and three Chanticleers hit home runs to lead #20 Coastal Carolina to a 7-3 victory at Georgia Southern Thursday night at J.I. Clements Stadium.
Coastal improves to 20-8 overall, 7-0 in the Sun Belt Conference while the Eagles, which tied a season high by committing four errors that led to four unearned runs, fall to 12-13, 5-2 in the league. The two teams will meet for game two of the series on Friday at 6:30 pm.
Bilous (4-0) struggled early, loading the bases thanks to a hit batter and two walked before allowing a two-run single in the first inning. However, after allowing that hit, Bilous got 20 outs versus his next 24 batters, allowing an unearned run, two hits, a hit batter and a walk while ringing up 10 Georgia Southern batters before exiting after six innings.
Matt Eardensohn picked up his second save as he pitched three scoreless innings to close the game, scattering three hits with no walks and three strikeouts.
Offensively, Seth Lancaster, Zach Biermann and Kevin Woodall Jr., each hit home runs. CCU's first three batters, Cory Wood, Lancaster and Woodall each had two hits, while Biermann and Woodall each had two RBI.
Despite getting a leadoff single (by Wood) and double (by Lancaster) in the top of the first, Coastal could not convert. In the bottom of the first, Georgia Southern was able take advantage of its base runners. After loading the bases with one out, Matt Anderson lined a two-run single to give the Eagles an early 2-0 lead.
Coastal hit two home runs in the third to take a 3-2 lead. Lancaster started the third inning with a solo home run, his sixth round-tripper of the season. After Woodall reached on an error, Biermann launched a two-run home run off the center field batter's eye. Biermann, who missed last weekend's series due to illness, now has seven homers this season.
The Eagles tied the game, 3-3, in the fourth. Noah Searcy was hit by a pitch, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and advanced to third on a throwing error. Chandler Cory grounded out to shortstop to bring home Searcy.
However, CCU quickly regained the lead in the top of the fifth. With one out, Woodall crushed a solo home run off the batter's eye to give the senior his 11th four-bagger of the year.
Coastal took advantage of two Eagle errors to score a pair of runs in the seventh for a 6-3 lead. Michael Koenig walked to start the inning and moved to second on a passed ball. Wood had a bunt single. A throwing error on the play allowed Koenig to score and moved Wood to second. After a sacrifice bunt by Lancaster, Georgia Southern looked to limit the damage, but a second error extended the inning and allowed Wood to score for the three-run lead.
The Chants caught a break in the ninth to expand their lead to four, 7-3. Wood walked, moved to second on a wild pitch and, on a wild pitch, reached third when the Eagle third baseman dropped the ball on the tag. Woodall then hit a seeing-eye single back up the middle to plate Wood.
The Eagles put a pair of runners in scoring position in the ninth before Eardensohn got a game-ending ground out.