South Alabama took advantage of 15 walks, scoring 11 runs on just 10 hits, to claim an 11-6 victory over 18th-ranked Coastal Carolina in the opener of the three-game Sun Belt Conference series Friday evening before a crowd of 2,311, the 11th-largest in Springs Brooks Stadium history and largest for a Sun Belt contest in the facility.
Coastal falls to 20-11 overall, 8-2 in the Sun Belt to maintain a half-game lead in the conference standings while South Alabama improves to 17-11, 7-2.
Due to inclement weather in the forecast for tomorrow (Saturday, April 7), game two of the series between the Chanticleers and Jaguars will now start at 10 am.
The loss spoiled a good day offensively for Chanticleer seniors Seth Lancaster and Kevin Woodall Jr., both of whom collected three hits. Lancaster (3-for-5) hit two home runs and drove in five of CCU’s six runs while Woodall was 3-for-4 with a walk. Parker Chavers also had a solid day at the plate, going 2-for-3 to raise his batting average to a team-best .327 overall and .444 in league play.
The 15 walks issued by Coastal pitchers marks a school record. Entering the game, CCU pitchers led the league in both strikeout-to-walk ratio as well as having the league’s lowest WHIP (walks and hits allowed per inning pitched).
South Alabama wasted little time taking a 1-0 lead as leadoff hitter Travis Swaggerty hit an opposite field home run to left field for a 1-0 lead. After two walks and two outs, Carter Perkins delivered an RBI single to left field and an error of the play allowed a second run to score on the play to give the Jaguars a 3-0 lead.
The Jaguars’ Wells Davis his a second opposite field home run, also to left field, to take a 4-0 lead in the top of the third.
Four walks in the top of the fourth led to a 5-0 lead by South Alabama. The Jaguars pushed a second run across in the frame on a wild pitch. Then with two outs, Bates hit a two-run single for an eight-run cushion.
Three straight hits to start the fifth led to a pair of Jaguar runs. Dylan Hardy had a leadoff single and scored on a hit-and-run double by Brendan Donovan. Hunter Stokes followed with an RBI single.
Coastal cut into its deficit with three runs in the bottom of the fifth. Cory Wood drew a leadoff walk and Lancaster followed with a home run over the right-center field wall, his eight round tripper of the year. The next batter, Zach Biermann, followed with a shot over the left field wall, giving the junior eight home runs as well.
South Alabama scored its 11th run of the game in the top of the ninth. Swaggerty and Donovan walked. Pinch hitter Deyvid Silva hit a one-out, RBI single. In the bottom of the ninth, Chavers singled and Wood walked. Lancaster followed with his second home run of the game – ninth of the season – to provide the 11-6 final.
Jason Bilous (4-1) suffered his first loss of the season as he allowed eight runs (seven earned) on three hits in 3.1 innings. South Alabama starter Tyler Carr (5-2) earned the win. He allowed seven hits and three runs over eight innings with two walks and seven strikeouts.