Coastal cruises to 17-2 Win Over Virginia Tech in Season Opener
CONWAY – Preseason All-American Kevin Woodall Jr., had a career-high six RBI and Jason Bilous tied a career high with nine strikeouts to lead Coastal Carolina to a 17-2, season-opening victory over Virginia Tech Friday night at Spring Brooks Stadium The game, part of the 19th annual Brittain Resorts Baseball at the Beach, had a crowd of 3,154, which is the third-largest, on-campus, regular-season crowd in school history.
Coastal Carolina will host the 18th-ranked Oklahoma Saturday. First pitch is set for 3 pm. However, the Sooners will face #20 South Alabama early Saturday at Springs Brooks Stadium with first pitch set for 11 am.
Coastal’s 17-2 victory matched the lopsided 17-2 win over Appalachian State to start 2016 and is the second-largest, opening-day win in school history behind a 19-3 decision to start the 1999 season. Overall, Coastal is 30-13 in season openers while improving to 34-9 in home openers, including a 4-0 mark in Springs Brooks Stadium. Head coach Gary Gilmore, in his 23rd season, is 19-4 in season openers and 21-2 in home openers.
Bilous (1-0) struck out the side in the first and third innings and recorded two K’s in the second and fifth innings. He scattered four hits and three walks to allow one run over his five complete. Overall, Coastal’s four pitchers recorded 13 strikeouts, including two by Scott Kobos in the ninth – his lone inning,
Offensively, Coastal had 15 hits, but took advantage of 11 walks by Hokie pitchers, who also hit three CCU batters.
Woodall was 3-for-4 with a two-run home run in the first and a two-run single in the seventh. Kieton Rivers and Seth Lancaster added home runs, while Cory Wood, Rivers and Parker Chavers each had two hits. CCU’s 1-2-3 hitters - Wood, Keaton Weisz and Lancaster – each scored three runs.
In the top of the first, Bilous struck out the side despite allowing a leadoff walk and two-out double. While the Hokies could not take advantage, Coastal would score in the home half. Weisz hit a leadoff double – his first career hit – and Woodall followed with a towering two-run home run to left field for a an early 2-0 lead.
The teams traded zeroes in the second and third innings. However in the bottom of the fourth, Coastal scored five runs thanks to a home run and three-straight, bases-loaded walks. Rivers started the bottom of the fourth with a solo home run. Two batters later, Cameron Pearcey was hit by a pitch. He stole second and took third on a fly out before scoring on a two-out, RBI single Wood. Three straight walks, including one to Woodall, forced in another run in the frame to give Coastal a 5-0 lead. Tech went to its bullpen but the result was a same, with back-to-back, bases-loaded walks.
The Hokies got on the scoreboard in the top of the fifth. Darion Jacoby was hit by a pitch to start the inning and scored after consecutive singles by Tom Stoffel and Jack Owens.
Coastal got that run back and one more in the bottom of the fifth to push its lead to 9-1. Pearcey doubled, moved to third on a fly out and scored on a throwing error. After walks to Wood and Lancaster, Woodall smacked an RBI single to bring home Wood.
Virginia Tech used a similar formula to score another run in the seventh to make the score 9-2. Jacoby was hit by a pitch but was retired on Stoffel fielder’s choice. Stoffel moved to third on a single and scored on a sacrifice fly by Sam Fragale.
Once again, Coastal answered and then some in the home half. Chavers hit a leadoff double and scored on a Wood single to left. Weisz and Lancaster walked to load the bases to set the stage for a two-run, RBI single by Woodall. A single by pinch hitter Lee Sponseller loaded the bases and Kyle Skeels was hit by a pitch for force in a run for a 15-2 cushion.
Lancaster started the eighth with a home run and the Chants took advantage of an error to score its 17th run of the game.