Five-run sixth inning lifts Coastal Carolina past CSUMay 21, 2003
by David Shelton, CSU Sports Information
|Billy Dalton produced offensively for the Bucs, going 2-for-3 with a RBI.|
ROCK HILL, SC - Second-seeded Coastal Carolina made the most of their "small ball" approach against Charleston Southern ace R.J.Swindle and defeated fifth-seeded Charleston Southern, 7-2, in the opening game of the 2002 Big South Conference baseball tournament.
Coastal Carolina (42-15) parlayed a pair of bunt singles, a walk and a pair of CSU mistakes to score five runs in the decisive sixth inning, overcoming a 2-1 deficit and solving Swindle, who struck out 11 hitters through the first five innings. Swindle had his streak of nine consecutive wins snapped, allowing five earned runs over seven innings. Swindle's record falls to 10-5 on the season.
"He's one of the best pitchers in the country, no doubt about it," Coastal Carolina head coach Gary Gilmore said of Swindle. "No team in this tournament wanted to face that kid and he showed why today. We figured about the only way to beat him was to keep it close and hope that we someone could come up with a big hit somewhere. We executed really well in the bunting game and that proved to be the difference."
Trailing 2-1, Coastal Carolina's Ryan McGraw led off the sixth with a solo homerun to right center. Brandon Powell and Brett Grandstrand followed with perfectly placed bunt singles and Swindle walked cleanup hitter Tyler Hasbrouck to load the bases with no outs. After striking out Steve Pinocchio, Swindle faced pinch-hitter Greg Orsimarsi, who laid down a safety squeeze bunt to first baseman Adrian Vanderburg. Vanderburg fielded the bunt cleanly and tossed easily to catcher Scott Thacker for an apparent out. However, Thacker pulled his foot off the plate before the ball reached him, allowing Powell to score from third.
The inning continued with a routine fly ball by Jeff Baker to centerfielder Jordan Haar. Grandstrand, at third, faked coming home but did score when Haar's throw skipped past Thacker, putting the Chanticleers up, 4-2. Catcher Chad Oxendine then followed with a two-run single to left, scoring Hasbrouck and Orsimarsi.
Meanwhile, CSU managed just three hits, two from shortstop Billy Dalton, off CCU starter Steven Carter, who went the distance, striking out seven.
"With the way Swindle and Carter were throwing early, we figured it would be a close game to the end," CSU head coach Gary Murphy said. "Unfortunately we made a few mistakes in that sixth inning that really cost us a chance to win. They executed two perfect bunts for hits and got the bases loaded but even with that, we had a great opportunity to get out of the inning tied at two.
"Take nothing away from Carter though. He really threw well today. He located his fastball well all day long and we had some pretty bad swings at times."
Coastal took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first, getting a leadoff double from McGraw, who came around to score on Hasbrouck's groundout to second. The Buccaneers grabbed a 2-1 lead in the top of the third as Dalton and second baseman Brad Woods delivered RBI singles after third baseman Andrew Grosse reached on an error.
On the bright side, Swindle's 11 strikeouts give him 140 for the season, a new single season school record. Swindle also holds the career strikeout record, raising his total to 267 over two seasons.
CSU (19-36) will play again on Thursday at 3:00, facing the loser of the Winthrop - Liberty game, scheduled for 8:00 pm on Wednesday night. Murphy announced that freshman right-hander Robert Parnell (2-4, 4.76 ERA) will start Thursday's game.
"It's going to be a real tough road back but we have to put the disappointment behind us and do what we can to keep our season going," said Murphy.Related Item: Box Score