CONWAY, S.C. – A grand slam in the bottom of the fifth inning by Chance Gilmore broke a 5-5 tie and propelled 12th-ranked Coastal Carolina to a 13-5 win over Virginia Tech on Saturday evening at the Caravelle Resort Tournament in Conway, S.C.
The Hokies jumped out to 5-0 lead after three innings behind sophomore starter Mathew Price, who retired the first eight batters he faced, including three strikeouts and four ground-ball outs. But the Chanticleers figured things out in third and went on to score runs in each of the next five innings to move to 2-0 on the young season. Tech fell to 0-2.
The two teams matched each other with 10 hits apiece, but Coastal took advantage of eight walks and five wild pitches by the Tech pitching staff. Price took the loss after lasting four-plus innings, allowing seven runs on six hits and four walks. He struck out five. Joe Mantiply, Brandon Fisher, Patrick Scoggin and Ben Rowen pitched an inning apiece, in that order, to close out the game, with Mantiply and Scoggin making their collegiate debuts and Fisher and Rowen tossing perfect frames.
Offensively, first baseman Austin Wates led the Hokies with a 3-for-5 performance to improve to 5-for-8 on the weekend and increase his hitting streak to 15 games dating back to last season. Catcher Anthony Sosnoskie went 2-for-5 with a double and two runs scored. Right fielder Mike Kaminski added two hits of his own, while center fielder Sean Ryan drove in a pair of runs.
The Hokies touched up 2009 Freshman All-American Anthony Meo for five runs on six hits, but reliever Matt Rein earned the win after tossing 4.1 innings of one-hit, shutout ball. The Chanticleers were led at the plate by Gilmore, who scored two other times in addition to the grand slam that he produced.
The Hokies used four hits and the help of an error to score three runs in the top of the second and take the first lead of the game. The first came when Ryan bounced a single up the middle to bring home Sosnoskie, who led off with a double and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Ronnie Shaban. Shaban was safe on that play due to an error by Meo, however, and moved to third on Ryan’s hit after a Michael Seaborn walk put him on second. Kaminski then lofted a single into the hole behind second that a diving Tommy LaStella couldn’t get to, which scored Shaban. Wates followed with an infield single off the pitcher’s glove that trickled into no man’s land, allowing Seaborn to score.
Ryan produced another run in the top of the third with a bases-loaded sac fly to center field to score Sosnoskie and force Meo from the contest. Kaminski then reached on a fielder’s choice, but all runners were safe after LaStella dropped what should have been the third out. Tim Smalling took advantage in the next at bat and singled home Seaborn, who had walked, to give Tech a 5-0 lead.
The Chanticleers got on the board in the bottom of the third when center fielder Rico Noel slapped a base hit to center field to score both DH Josh Conway and third baseman Scott Woodward, who had moved up to third and second, respectively, on a wild pitch by Price.
Coastal tied things up in the bottom of the fourth with three runs. The first two came when first baseman Adam Rice crushed a two-run homer to left field to score right fielder Daniel Bowman and make it 5-4. A ball-four wild pitch to Woodward, Price’s third wayward toss of the game, scored Gilmore to tie it at 5.
Two straight hits by Coastal to lead off the fifth chased Price from the game in favor of Mantiply. A sac bunt by Rice moved LaStella and Bowman to second and third, respectively, and the Hokies opted to intentionally walk catcher Jose Iglesias to set up a double play possibility. However, what it also set up was the decisive grand slam by Gilmore.
The Chanticleers added a run in the sixth thanks to an RBI single by LaStella before pushing across three more in the seventh to set the final score at 13-5.
The Hokies will conclude the opening weekend of play on Sunday with an 11 a.m., start against former BIG EAST rival West Virginia. The Mountaineers have also gone 0-2 in their first two games of the Caravelle Resort Tournament.
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