Little Rock, AR (WBTW) – No. 24 Coastal Carolina baseball dropped both games of the Friday doubleheader at Little Rock by scores of 8-5 and to 14-0 at Gary Hogan Field in Little Rock, Arkansas.
The two losses drop Coastal Carolina to 23-13-1 overall and 8-6 in conference play, while the win pushes Little Rock to 16-19 overall and 9-5 in the Sun Belt.
Game 1: Little Rock 8, No. 24 Coastal Carolina 5
Coastal Carolina outhit Little Rock 10-9 for the game, but every time the Chanticleers scored the Trojans had an answer to hold off the visiting Chants for the 8-5 conference win at home at Gary Hogan Field in game one of the doubleheader.
The loss is the first for Coastal to Little Rock in the all-time series, as the Chants now lead 3-1.
The Coastal offense struck out 13 times for the game, while the pitching staff walked six batters and hit one more compared to just five strikeouts in the loss.
Little Rock’s starter Chandler Fidel (4-2) was in control for most of the game, as he gave up just four runs on nine hits and struck out 10 over 7.1 innings to earn the win.
The loss went to CCU’s Zach McCambley (4-2), as the starter allowed six runs on six hits, four walks and a hit-batter while striking out five in 4.2 innings.
Eight different Chants registered a base hit in the contest with four of them driving in one RBI each in Jake Wright (2-for-5, HR, 2B, RBI, 2 runs), Kyle Skeels (1-for-3, HR, HBP, RBI, run), Parker Chavers (2-for-4, 3B, RBI, run) and Zach Biermann (1-for-4, 2B, RBI, run).
For the Trojans, Ryan Benavidez (2-for-5, 2B, 2 RBIs, run), Nick Perez (2-for-4, RBI, run) and Eldridge Figueroa (2-for-3, run) all had two hits apiece in the win, while Ramon Padilla (1-for-4, 2B, 2 RBIs, run) drove in two RBIs and Riley Pittman (1-for-1, HR, 3 BB, RBI, run) hit a solo home run.
Just like in Wednesday night’s win at No. 2 NC State, Wright put the Chants on the board in the top of the first inning with a solo home run to right field to give the visitors a 1-0 lead one at-bat into the contest.
However, the lead did not last for long, as the Trojans batted around in the bottom of the first inning and scored four runs on three hits, two walks and a hit-batsman, highlighted by an RBI double from Padilla, a sacrifice fly by Troy Alexander and a two-out RBI single up the middle off the bat of Perez.
The Trojans added to its lead in the bottom of the third with one swing of the bat, as Pittman led off the inning with a solo home run to right field to extend the home team’s lead to 5-1 after three innings of play.
With a little help from the LR defense in the top half of the fourth, the Chants cut the Trojans’ lead in half.
Wright lined a one-out double to right-center field to get things started in the fourth. Two batters later, Chavers hit a deep fly ball to the warning track in center field where the LR outfielder lost the ball in the sun and watched it fall just out of his reach which allowed Chavers to race around to third for the RBI triple, scoring Wright.
After Skeels was hit-by-pitch to put runners on first and third with two outs, Biermann hit a blooper off the end of the bat that headed towards third base. The third baseman misjudged the ball and let it float over his head for a double to plate Chavers and cut the Little Rock lead to two at 5-3 midway through the fourth inning.
Little Rock took advantage of a one-out walk to push its lead back out to three at 6-3 on a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the fourth to continue to answer every Coastal run.
The two teams each stranded a runner on third in the fifth before Skeels hit a towering solo home run to left field in the top of the sixth to cut the Trojans’ lead back down to two at 6-4. His dinger was his eighth of the season.
Yet again the Trojans had another answer for the Chants scoring, as LR picked up back-to-back singles to start the bottom half of the sixth and then saw two runs score on a fielder’s choice and an errant throw on a double-play attempt to double up Coastal at 8-4 with three innings to play.
Coastal got back-to-back singles in the eighth, yet couldn’t get a key hit and left two Chants stranded on base to send us to the bottom half of the inning still trailing 8-4.
The Chants got one run across in the ninth with the help of another Trojans’ fielding error and sent the tying run to the plate only to see the left fielder chase down a ball in the gap to end the game with Little Rock in front 8-5.
CCU stranded eight runners on base for the game, while Little Rock left six on.
Game 2: Little Rock 14, No. 24 Coastal Carolina 0
The Chanticleers’ offense struggled to string together a series of hits and gave up three runs in the third, three more in the sixth and a season-high six runs in the seventh to fall to the Trojans 14-0 in the nightcap of the Friday doubleheader.
It is the first time the Chants have been shut out in over two years, as CCU was last shut out in a 4-0 loss to Troy in the series opener on April 28, 2017, at Springs Brooks Stadium.
LR’s Hayden Arnold (3-0) threw 7.0-scoreless innings, allowing just three hits and striking out seven in the win.
CCU’s Austin Kitchen (5-2) allowed five runs on seven hits, two walks and two strikeouts over 4.1 innings in the loss.
The Chants mustered just four hits on the game with two hits from Wood (2-for-3, BB, SB), Chavers (1-for-3, 2B) and pinch hitter Turner Buis (1-for-1).
The top four hitters in the Trojans’ lineup went a combined 10-for-15 with 10 RBIs in the game two win as Benavidez (2-for-3, 3B, 2 BB, 4 RBIs, 2 runs) and Pittman (3-for-4, SF, 4 RBIs, run) each drove in four RBIs.
The Trojans continued its scoring pace in the bottom of the first to start game two, as lead-off hitter Reyes lined a single to center field, moved up to second on a ground ball to the right side of the infield, stole third and then scored on a sacrifice fly to left field to put the home team up 1-0 after just one inning of play.
LR added to its lead two innings later on an RBI single from Benavidez and a two-run single by Pittman to plate three runs in the inning and extend its lead to 4-0 after three innings of play.
Pittman added to the Little Rock lead with an RBI base hit up the middle in the fifth to put the score at 5-0, as Arnold kept the Coastal offense off the base paths sending down 17-straight CCU hitters after a lead-off single from Wood to start the game.
Wood broke up the streak with a two-out single in the top of the sixth, quickly stole second, but was stranded on base after a strikeout ended the inning.
The Trojans broke the game open in the bottom of the sixth on a bases-loaded triple into the corner in right field to score three runs in the inning and push their lead out to 8-0 with three innings to play.
For good measure the Trojans scored six more runs in the seventh to complete the double-digit win.
Coastal (23-13-1, 8-6 Sun Belt) will wrap up its season-long nine-game road trip on Sunday afternoon, April 14, versus Little Rock (16-19, 9-5 Sun Belt) in the series finale. First pitch is set for Noon ET/11 a.m. CT.