Jason Bilous posted a career-high 11 strikeouts over seven scoreless innings to lead #19 Coastal Carolina to a 4-0 victory over Little Rock Friday afternoon at Springs Brooks Stadium.
Coastal (34-16, 19-6 Sun Belt) notches its fourth shutout of the season and came one step closer to clinching the top seed for the Sun Belt Championship (May 22-27). Little Rock, which entered the weekend as the Sun Belt West Division leader, falls to 26-21, 14-10.
Bilous walked the first batter of the game, but did not surrender a free pass the rest of the contest. He also allowed a leadoff single in the second – one of the Trojans’ two hits – but also worked around that. Overall, he struck out at least one batter in each of his seven innings, including two in each 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 7th innings.
Matt Eardensohn worked the final two innings to record his fifth save and preserve the shutout. He struck out one with one walk.
Little Rock starter Chandler Fidel (6-4) was impressive as well but was saddled with the loss. He too struck out 11 over seven innings. He allowed six hits and three runs with one walk.
Cory Wood and Seth Lancaster opened the bottom of the first for the Chanticleers with back-to-back doubles to give the Chants a 1-0 lead. Lancaster stole third and scored on a wild pitch.
After that wild pitch, both pitchers took over, each striking out nine batters through the fifth inning.
However, Parker Chavers hit his sixth home run of the season in the bottom of the sixth to give the Chanticleers a 3-0 lead.
Coastal pushed its lead to 4-0 in the eighth. Zach Biermann was hit by a pitch and lifted for pinch runner Cameron Pearcey. Pearcey stole second and scored on an RBI triple by Kieton Rivers.
Coastal and Little Rock will play game two of the weekend series on Saturday with game time set for 2 pm. Prior to the game, CCU will honor its seven seniors.