LEXINGTON, Va. - Anthony Meo allowed just three hits through six innings and combined with two relievers to shutout VMI for the second time this season as No. 7 Coastal Carolina scored a 7-0 win Friday evening at Gray-Minor Stadium. The win is the 15th-straight for Coastal Carolina (34-5, 12-0 Big South), while VMI (29-10, 10-6) drops its fifth straight.
Meo (8-1) issued a career-high five walks, but struck out nine in his six shutout innings. The right-hander was followed by Matt Laney and Josh Conway, who combined to allow just one more knock the rest of the night, with Conway striking out three in the final two innings.
VMI's Adam Lopez (5-1) suffered his first loss on the season, being charged with six runs, four earned, in six innings. He was relieved by Travis Thomas, who allowed a run on three hits in two innings. Freshman Miles McQuaig made his first Big South appearance in the ninth, working a scoreless frame.
At the dish, Rico Noel and Taylor Motter had two hits and two RBIs apiece for the Chanticleers, with Motter also scoring twice. For the Keydets, the lone hits came from Rob Dickinson and Jacob Morley, who each had two-hit nights.
"I thought we had opportunities early to score runs, every time we had a guy on base they would make a good pitch," said VMI head coach Marlin Ikenberry. "We left 10 guys on base, and that's uncharacteristic of the way we've played all year. I think we've lost some of our aggressiveness offensively, especially with men on base. We'll get that fixed. We're a young club, and we've got to continue to grow and learn from this run and get better."
A double by Jose Iglesias put the visitors on top 1-0 in the first, as Scott Woodward scored after walking, then stealing both second and third. Woodward scored again in the third, this time on a balk following his one-out single.
The Keydets threatened in the home-half of the third, loading the bases with one out. Meo, however, escaped the jam by inducing an inning-ending double play.
Coastal doubled the margin in the fourth, when a double by Motter plated Chance Gilmore, followed by a base knock by Noel to score Motter. VMI left two more stranded in the fifth, as Chase Worthington reached on an error and moved up when Morley had his second base hit of the game. Meo retired the next three in order, including the last two via strikeout to end the threat.
The Chanticleers struck for a pair of unearned runs in the sixth to make it 6-0. In the inning, a leadoff error allowed Daniel Bowman to reach base, allowing Motter and Noel to strike for back-to-back RBI hits, this time with two outs.
VMI again loaded the bases in the sixth, coming on a pair of walks and a fielding error. Meo, however, once again slammed this door, this time by striking out Morley on the final pitch he threw.
The Chants tacked on another in the eighth, as Gilmore doubled to center field, plating Steve Davis. VMI, meanwhile, saw just one batter reach base in the final three innings against Laney and Conway, with that coming on a two-out single in the eighth by Dickinson.
The teams continue the series Saturday afternoon, with first pitch at Gray-Minor Stadium set for 3 p.m. Fans can watch the game on the Big South Network, available at www.BigSouthSports.com, or listen to the game on the VMI Sports Network, available online at www.VMIKeydets.com and on Lexington's 3WZ 96.7 FM.