Late Keydet Rally Comes Up Short, VMI Falls 4-2
Courtesy: VMIKeydets.com  
Release: 04/30/2011
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Courtesy: VMIKeydets.com

CONWAY, S.C. - The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers tallied the first four runs of the game, and a late VMI rally against the Coastal bullpen fell just short as the Chanticleers earned a hard-fought, 4-2 win over the Keydets Saturday afternoon in Big South baseball action at Vrooman Field at Watson Stadium in Conway, S.C.

A day after taking the lead in the second, VMI (21-21-1, 9-11 Big South) fell behind 1-0 early. Both teams' starting pitchers threw well, keeping the score 1-0 headed to the bottom of the fifth, when Coastal's (29-15, 13-4 BSC) Daniel Bowman had the game's big blow, a three-run home run to make it 4-0.

Rob Dickinson then led off the seventh with a home run, and George Piccirilli took Chanticleer closer Ryan Connolly yard in the eighth, but both were solo shots and VMI could pull no closer than the eventual 4-2 final.

Jason Farley (2-7) pitched well for the second straight start, going 6 1/3 innings and surrendering four runs. He struck out four and did not walk a batter, while Josh Conway (6-1) got the win for Coastal, going 6 2/3 innings and giving up one run. Connolly earned his third save of the year.

Both Dickinson and Jacob Morley had two hits apiece for VMI in the losing effort, while Sam Roberts went 1 for 4, tying Kelly Sweppenhiser '06 for the all-time program hit record. Tommy La Stella was 3 for 4 for the home team.

"I thought our guys played really hard today," said VMI head coach Marlin Ikenberry. "We had offensive opportunities throughout the game, and even though Jason did make the mistake to Bowman, he threw the ball consistently well otherwise. This is a tough place to win, as you really have to execute in all aspects of the game, and we have not done that in the first two games of this series."

The Keydets threatened right away against Conway, as with one out, Justin Hess and Graham Sullivan had back to back singles. Both runners moved up on a wild pitch, and the bases were then loaded when Piccirilli reached on an error. Unfortunately for VMI, no one could score on the miscue, and the next two hitters were retired on an infield pop up and a fly out, keeping the Keydets off the scoreboard.

The Chanticleers manufactured a run in the second, when Keith Hardwick had a leadoff single. He then stole second, and scored on back to back groundballs, giving the home team a 1-0 advantage.

Morley doubled with two outs in the fourth, but was left stranded, and Coastal threatened in the bottom half. Rich Witten led off the inning with a double, and moved up on a sacrifice bunt, but Farley struck out the next two hitters to get out of trouble, keeping the score 1-0.

The home team struck again in the fifth, however, as with two outs, Hayes Orton and La Stella had back to back hits. Bowman then hit a 2-2 pitch over the left field wall for the three-run home run, his 10th of the season, to put the Chanticleers ahead 4-0.

After both teams were retired 1-2-3 in the sixth, Dickinson led off the seventh by blasting the first pitch over the left field fence to cut the lead to 4-1. It was the sophomore's second long ball of the year. No one could score again until the eighth, when Piccirilli hit a 3-2 pitch out, again to left, for his third homer of the season.

VMI was within 4-2, and Dickinson led off the ninth with a single, bringing the tying run to the plate. The next three Keydets, however, were retired in order to end the contest.

Morley has been the offensive catalyst for VMI in the series, going 4 for 8 with two doubles.

The Keydets and Chanticleers will conclude their Big South series on Sunday in Conway, doing battle at 1 p.m.

VMI at Coastal Carolina (April 30, 2011 at Conway, S.C.)
----------------------------------------------------------------------
VMI                  000 000 110 -  2   8  1    (21-21-1, 9-11 BSC)
Coastal C.       010 030 00X -  4  7 1     (29-15, 13-4)
----------------------------------------------------------------------
VMI - Farley; Watts (7) and Montague.
CCU - Conway; Hessler (7); Connolly (8) and Frawley.
W - Conway (6-1) S - Connolly (3) L - Farley (2-7) T- 2:15 A - 803
HR VMI - Dickinson (2), Piccirilli (3)
HR CCU - Bowman (10)


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