Conway, SC (WBTW) – Coastal Carolina baseball head coach Gary Gilmore recorded his 1,200th career win as a collegiate baseball head coach on Saturday, as the No. 10 Chanticleers split a Sun Belt Conference doubleheader with the Arkansas State Red Wolves at Springs Brooks Stadium. Coastal took game one 6-0, while the Red Wolves won game two 7-3.
With the split, the Red Wolves took the three-game series 2-1 over the Chanticleers.
Game 1: No. 10 Coastal Carolina 6, Arkansas State 0
The Chants rode the left arm of starting pitcher Austin Kitchen (5-0), as the redshirt junior allowed just four hits and struck out a career-high nine batters in 7.0-scoreless innings to pick up his team-leading fifth win of the season.
It was the Chants’ second shutout of the year with both shutout wins coming in the first game of a doubleheader, as CCU blanked Michigan State 13-0 in the first game of a twin bill back on Feb. 22.
On top of Kitchen’s nine strikeouts, fellow lefty Jay Causey (2.0 IP, 1 hit, 2 BB, K) struck out one in 2.0-scoreless innings to help post the shutout win.
Catcher Kyle Skeels (2-for-4, HR, 2 RBIs, run) led the way offensively with two base hits, including a solo home run, while Zach Biermann (1-for-4, 2 RBIs) and Cory Wood (1-for-2, BB, 2 RBIs) drove in two RBIs apiece.
A-State starter Chandler Coates (3-2) surrendered six runs, five of which were earned, on eight hits, four walks and four strikeouts over 8.0-complete innings in the loss.
The Red Wolves’ offense had just five hits on the game from five different players including a double from both Andrew Leggo (1-for-1, 2B) and Tyler Duncan (1-for-3, 2B).
With both starters keeping the offenses at bay for the first three innings, the Chants’ bats broke through in the bottom of the fourth as Kieton Rivers followed a walk to Jake Wrightwith a double to right center field to put runners on first and second with no outs for Biermann.
Biermann hit the first pitch through the right side of the infield to score both Wright and Rivers to put the home team up 2-0 after four innings of play.
Coastal took advantage of a walk, a throwing error on a failed pickoff attempt and a sacrifice bunt to add a run on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Wood to extend the Chanticleers’ lead to 3-0 with four innings left in the contest.
Kitchen, who sent the Red Wolves down in order in the first, fourth, fifth and sixth innings, pitched around a pair of singles in the seventh and registered his ninth punch-out in the game to keep A-State off the scoreboard heading into the seventh-inning stretch.
Skeels helped out his battery mate with a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh to push the Chants’ lead out to 4-0. Four batters later, Wood hustled down the first base line to beat out an infield single to score a heads-up Scott McKeon all the way around from second to push the men in Teal’s lead out to 5-0.
After Causey pitched around a walk in the eighth, Skeels added an insurance run with a two-out RBI single in the bottom half of the inning to put the score at 6-0.
The Chants’ pitchers struck out 10 batters compared to just three walks, while the offense overcame three A-State double plays.
Game 2: Arkansas State 7, No. 10 Coastal Carolina 3
After not scoring a run in the first game, the Red Wolves jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first in game two to lead from start to finish in a 7-3 conference road win.
Coastal registered eight hits in the nightcap yet stranded 10 runners on base and had two inning-ending double-plays erase their scoring chances in the loss.
Biermann (2-for-4, 2 RBIs) drove in two RBIs on two base hits. Skeels (1-for-2, HR, BB, RBI, run) added a solo home run while five other players had one hit apiece.
The A-State offense scored three runs in the first and three runs in the ninth to highlight the win. Designated hitter Sky-Lar Culver (4-for-5, 2B, 5 RBIs) drove in a game-high five RBIs, while both Justin Felix (1-for-4, BB, RBI) and Duncan (1-for-4, BB, RBI) each drove in an RBI in game two.
Freshman pitcher Garrett McDaniels (0-2) suffered the loss, allowing three runs on two hits, a walk and a hit-batsman in 0.1 innings, while A-State’s Nate Alberius (4-1) picked up the win by holding CCU to just two runs on seven hits, two walks and three strikeouts over 5.1 innings.
The Red Wolves got on the scoreboard early in game two, as the visitors in black took advantage of a lead-off single, a walk and a hit-by-pitch to set up Culver for a two-run single to right field to put the visitors in front 2-0.
Following a walk to load the bases, Duncan hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score one more and put the Red Wolves in front 3-0 midway through the first inning.
While Coastal saw another double-play spoil its inning in the second, the Red Wolves added another run in the top of the third on a second Culver RBI single to right to extend the visitors’ lead to 4-0.
Senior pitcher Matt Eardensohn (6.2 IP, ER, 6 hits, BB, 5 K) kept the Chants in the game for the next 6.2 innings, a new career-high, as he gave up the lone run in the third and kept the Red Wolves off the scoreboard for a total of five innings.
The Chants got one run back in the fourth, as Biermann hit a one-out single through the right side to score McKeon from second and trim the A-State lead to three at 4-1.
Two innings later, Biermann struck again as the first baseman registered another RBI single in the sixth to put the Chants within in two of the Red Wolves at 4-2.
A Skeels solo shot in the eighth put the home team down just one at 4-3 with one inning to play.
However, A-State put pressure on the Chants with a three-run ninth, highlighted by a two-run double from Culver, to put the score at 7-3 where it would stand at the end of the game.
Coastal (20-8-1, 6-3 Sun Belt) will hit the road for a nine-game road trip starting on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 2-3, at Illinois in Champaign, Ill. The Chants defeated then-No. 25 Illinois 11-3 at home on March 1 at the CCU Baseball Tournament.