HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Strong pitching and clutch hitting lifted the Anderson University baseball team to a decisive 10-3 in game one of a South Atlantic Conference doubleheader with Coker, Saturday but the Cobras denied AU a sweep with a 7-2 win in the nightcap at Tom J. New Field.
Anderson (9-25, 5-12 SAC) opened an 11-game road swing by snapping a five-game skid with the win in game one, while Coker (19-12, 9-8 SAC) claimed its fifth win in seven games.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Anderson 10, Coker 3
Junior Tyler Miller was 3-for-6 in the opener, with an RBI and scored twice, while junior William Thomas added a pair of singles and an RBI. Sophomore Carson Barrett was 2-for-4 and drove in three runs, with freshman Joseph Strange notching a pair of hits and two RBI. Freshman Dillon Carpenter scored twice after reaching base on a pair of walks and a single.
Sophomore John McMicking earned the start, but did not toss innings to qualify for the victory. The right-hander scattered six hits over 4 1/3 innings, while allowing three runs. Senior Ryan Owens (2-4) collected the win after surrendering just two hits over the final 4 2/3 innings on the mound. He struck out two Cobras and did not issue a walk.
Coker 7, Anderson 2
Jackson Strange led the Trojans with two hits in the nightcap, including his third home run of the season.
Senior Chris Ayers (3-4) took the loss after surrendering seven runs on six hits in 2 2/3 innings. The right-hander walked four and struck out three. Evan Small, Tyler Vaughan and Christian Hendrix came on in relief and combined to hold the Cobras to four hits and no runs over the final 3 1/3 innings.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Anderson opened the scoring with a run in the top of the second inning when Dillon Carpenter opening the frame with a walk and moved into scoring position when junior Zack McIlroy drew another walk two batters later. Carpenter crossed the plate when Joseph Strange singled to left.
The Trojans boosted their lead to 5-0 with four runs on the strength of four hits and a walk in the fourth inning. McIlroy reached on a fielder's choice and moved to second on senior Stephen McKnight's single to left field. Joseph Strange followed with his second straight single to plate McIlroy, with McKnight going to second. Two batters later, freshman Avery Green drew AU's third walk of the game to load the bases and Thomas reached on another free pass to give AU a three-run advantage. With the bases still full, Barrett pulled a two-out, two-run single to right field, bringing home both Green and Miller, who had reached on a fielder's choice.
Coker countered with three runs with one out in the bottom of the fifth to get back in the contest, while the Trojans responded by widening their lead to 6-3 in the top of the sixth. Miller led off by ripping a single back up the middle and crossed the plate on Barrett's one-out single to center field.
The Trojans padded their lead to 10-3 in the top of the eighth when they got two runners on with no outs after pinch-hitter Avery Sneed and Carpenter opened the inning with back-to-back singles and both moved up on a wild pitch. With one out, McIlroy drew an intentional walk to load the bases and McKnight was hit by a pitch to force in a run. Two batters later and with the bases still full, Miller posted an RBI-single to bring home Carpenter and Green added a two-run single.
Owens held the Cobras to just one hit – a single – over the final two innings to secure the victory.
But the Cobras answered with seven runs in the bottom of the third, with Anderson trimming the deficit to five on Jackson Strange's two-out solo homer in the fourth inning, while the Trojans were unable to get any closer over the final three frames.
STAT OF THE DAY
Anderson out-hit the Cobra's, 20-18, on the afternoon.
• The 10 runs scored in the opener marked a season-high for the Trojans.
• The 14 hits in game one marked the third-highest of the season for AU.
• Joseph Strange and Tyler Miller combined for seven hits on the day.
• The nine RBI in game one equaled AU's season high.
• The Trojans collected a season-high nine walks in the opener, but did not capture a free pass in the nightcap.
• McKnight extended his hitting streak to seven games.
• Jackson Strange has reached base safely in six consecutive games.
Anderson and Coker will close out the three-game series with a noon contest on Sunday.