Keydets Drop Series Opener to Chanticleers, 8-2
Courtesy: VMIKeydets.com  
Release: 04/29/2011
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Courtesy: VMIKeydets.com

CONWAY, S.C. - The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers scored five runs in the fifth inning, and Anthony Meo struck out 10 over seven innings as the homestanding Chanticleers defeated the VMI Keydets 8-2 Friday night in Big South baseball action at Vrooman Field at Watson Stadium in Conway, S.C.

VMI (21-20-1, 9-10 Big South) jumped ahead early, striking for an unearned run in the second to take a 1-0 lead, but Coastal Carolina tied the game in the third, setting the stage for the five-run uprising. The key play in Coastal's (28-15, 12-4 BSC) big inning was a Keydet error on a sacrifice bunt, which set the stage for two of the runs to be unearned.

Graham Sullivan homered with one out in the fifth, pulling the visitors back within 6-2, but the Chanticleers notched two runs in the sixth to cap the scoring.

Coby Cowgill took the loss for VMI, surrendering six runs (four earned) over five innings of work to fall to 4-2. Meo (6-3) got the win with his seven innings of two-run baseball, and walked only one against his 10 strikeouts. Each of Coastal's first four hitters had two hits, while Jacob Morley had a pair of hits for the Keydets.

After neither side scored in the first, Alex Haitsuka had a one-out single in the second. Rob Dickinson flied out, but Morley doubled to center. The hit was misplayed by Coastal Carolina center fielder Hayes Orton, allowing Haitsuka to score and VMI to take a 1-0 lead.

The Chanticleers tied the score in the third, when Daniel Bowman reached with two outs. Rich Witten followed with a double, scoring Bowman and knotting the game, 1-1. The Keydets threatened in the fourth when George Piccirilli laced a one-out double, but Meo wiggled out of trouble by striking out the next two hitters.

The home team broke the game open in the fifth, as the first two runners reached against Cowgill. Tommy La Stella then put down a sacrifice bunt that was played by the VMI hurler, but Cowgill threw wildly to first, allowing La Stella to reach and a run to score, putting Coastal ahead 2-1. Bowman followed with an RBI single, and Witten doubled home two more runs, making it 5-1, CCU. Tucker Frawley had an RBI single later in the inning to cap the outburst and making it 6-1, Chanticleers.

With one out in the sixth, Sullivan hit a 1-1 pitch out to left field, cutting the Keydet deficit to 6-2. It was his fourth home run of the year, but the home team scored two in the bottom half off the Keydet bullpen, and VMI could not mount an additional rally over the final three innings.

VMI shortstop Sam Roberts went 0 for 4, and remains one hit from tying Kelly Sweppenhiser '06 for the all-time Keydet program hit record.

The Keydets and Chanticleers will resume their Big South series on Saturday in Conway, doing battle at 2 p.m.

VMI at Coastal Carolina (April 29, 2011 at Conway, S.C.)
----------------------------------------------------------------------
VMI                  010 001 000 -  2   6  2    (21-20-1, 9-10 BSC)
Coastal C.       001 052 00X -  8  10 1     (28-15, 12-4)
----------------------------------------------------------------------
VMI - Cowgill; Devine (6); Deal (8) and Haitsuka
CCU - Meo; Birmingham (8); Burke (9) and Frawley.
W - Meo (6-3) L - Cowgill (4-2) T- 2:37 A - 764
HR VMI - Sullivan (4)


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