ATLANTA, Ga. – The Coastal Carolina bullpen threw 6.0-scoreless innings while the Chanticleers’ offense scored at least one run in seven of the nine innings to lead the visitors to an 8-4 Sun Belt Conference road win at Georgia State on Saturday evening in Atlanta, Ga.
The Chanticleers put the lead-off hitter on base to start the inning in seven of the nine innings with six of those runners coming around to score in the win.
Graduate transfer Daniel Kreuzer (1-0) picked up his first win as a Chant, as the right-handed hurler came out of the bullpen in the fourth inning and was dominant, holding the Panthers to just one hit with one walk and three strikeouts over 4.0-scoreless innings.
The loss fell to Georgia State’s starter Trey Horton (0-3), as he did not make it out of the second inning, allowing three runs on five hits, one walk, and one strikeout in 1.1 innings of work. The CCU offense was led by redshirt junior Parker Chavers (4-for-4, BB, run, SB) who reached base all five times he walked to the plate.
Hitting in the three-hole for the first time all season, sophomore Dale Thomas (1-for-3, 2 HBP, 2 runs) scored two runs, while catcher Alex Gattinelli (0-for-3, SF, 2 RBIs) drove in two RBIs. For the Panthers at the plate, Josh Smith (2-for-4, HR, RBI, 2 runs) had a solo home run and scored on a wild pitch, while Will Mize (1-for-3, HR, BB, RBI, run) and Ashby Smith (1-for-4, RBI) drove in the other two RBIs in the loss.
After scoring just one run in Friday night’s loss, the Coastal offense got things started early on Saturday as a lead-off single, a sacrifice bunt, a hit-by-pitch, and a single through the left side loaded the bases with one out in the top of the first. A wild pitch allowed Underwood to score from third to put the visitors on top 1-0 before a walk to Gattinelli loaded the bases again.
Two batters later, Eric Brown singled to right field to score Thomas from third to go up 2-0. Chavers looked to score from second on the play but was thrown out at home by a great throw from the Panthers’ right fielder to end the inning.
GSU cut the Chants’ lead in half at 2-1 on a solo home run to center field from Smith in the bottom of the first, before the visitors in black got the run back in the top of the second on a Makenzie Pate double, a sacrifice bunt, and an Underwood RBI single up the middle.
The scoring continued in the bottom of the second inning, as the Panthers’ Mize led off the inning with a solo home run over the center-field wall to put the home team down just one once again at 3-2 through two innings of play.
The Chants continued to be patient at the plate, as three walks loaded the bases with one out in the top of the third inning for Pate.
Pate took a 1-2 pitch off the bill of his helmet for an RBI to push the CCU lead back out to two at 4-2. However, Georgia State would get the next two batters to ground to third base for a fielder’s choice and pop out to second base to end the Chants’ threat and leave the bases loaded in the third.
The out for the Panthers in the top of the third proved to be crucial, as the Panthers scored two runs in the bottom half of the inning on a wild pitch and a two-out single to right field to tie the game up at 4-4 heading into the fourth.
The Chants’ scoring run carried into the fifth, as Lucky led off the inning with a double to the right-field wall. Two batters later, after a ground out to the third baseman, Chavers ripped a single just out of the leaping second baseman’s reach and then stole second to put runners on second and third with one out.
A Gattinelli ground ball to the shortstop would plate Lucky from third to put the visitors back in front by one at 5-4. Following a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the fourth, the first of the contest, the Chants used small-ball in the top of the fifth with a hit-by-pitch, a sacrifice bunt, which saw Brown make a heads-up running play to move from first to third on the play, and a safety-squeeze sacrifice bunt to score him from third to push the Chants’ lead to two at 6-4.
For the sixth-straight inning, the Chanticleers put the lead-off runner on base, as Lucky again led off the sixth with a double over the left fielder’s head. After a hit-by-pitch on a sacrifice bunt attempt by Thomas, Chavers placed a perfect bunt down in front of the plate and beat out the throw to first to load the bases.
Two batters later, following a strikeout, Zack Beach hit a sacrifice fly down the left-field line to score Lucky from third and give the Chants their largest lead of the game at 7-4. CCU would add another sacrifice fly in the top of the eighth, this time from Gattinelli, to double up the Panthers at 8-4.
That was more than enough for the Chants’ bullpen, as while CCU continued to add to its lead Kreuzer pitched a 1-2-3 fourth inning, threw around an error in the fifth, sent the Panthers down in order again in the sixth, and stranded two Panthers on base in the seventh to keep the Chants in front.