CONWAY, S.C. – Junior Robby Rinn (Warwick, R.I.) hit his first home run of the season but it wasn't enough as Coastal Carolina defeated the Bryant University baseball team, 7-2, on Friday afternoon at Springs Brooks Stadium.
The Chanticleers (12-6) took advantage of three errors to hand the Bulldogs (2-10) their third-straight loss. Game two of the series is Saturday at 2:00 p.m.
Coastal Carolina worked quickly on Friday, grabbing a lead three batters into the game. Anthony Marks beat out an infield single and went all the way to third as a bunt from Michael Paez was thrown down the right field line. Connor Owings made the misplay hurt as he flew out to center to bring home a run.
The Chanticleers added to their lead with a pair of runs in the third inning. Marks singled to center with one out and came all the way around to score on a double from Paez. Two batters later, G.K. Young knocked a two-out single to right to make it 3-0.
Bryant was able to trim the deficit thanks to some wildness from CCU starter Alex Cunningham in the fourth. After retiring the first nine batters of the game, Cunningham gave up a leadoff double to senior Jordan Mountford (Guelph, Ont.). Sophomore Matt Albanese (East Haddam, Conn.) and Rinn then worked free passes to load the bases with two outs. Sophomore Cole Fabio (Mahwah, N.J.) then drew a five-pitch walk to bring home Bryant's first run but Cunningham induced a fly out to limit the damage.
Another Bulldog miscue in the fifth led to the Chanticleers fourth run. Marks led off with a slicing ground ball to third that was misplayed. He immediately stole second and moved to third on a sac bunt. In a weird play that worked in CCU's favor, Marks took off for home on a ball in the dirt but stopped halfway and was able to escape the eventual rundown and return to third. It paid off as Young delivered another two-out single to make it 4-1.
Bryant pulled within two again in the seventh thanks to Rinn. The Bulldog first baseman turned on the first pitch fastball and sent it scorching over the right field wall for his first home run of the season. Fabio followed with a single but Cunningham struck out the next three batters to end the inning.
Coastal quickly responded, taking advantage of Bryant's third error of the afternoon to score two runs. Al Molina led off with a single and Marks laid down a sac bunt that was thrown down the line, putting runners on second and third. Paez followed with a bloop single into shallow right, scoring both to make it 6-2.
Junior Kyle Wilcox (Sandy Hook, Conn.) produced his best outing of the season in Friday's series opener. The right-hander allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits, walked one and struck out five. Wilcox threw 104 pitches on the afternoon. James Davitt (Wallingford, Conn.) and Alex Lagos (Wrentham, Mass.) each tossed an inning of relief.
Cunningham earned the win for Coastal, allowing two runs on three hits in seven innings. He walked three and struck out nine. Marks had two hits and four runs scored and Paez drove in three for the Chanticleers.
The Bulldogs and Chanticleers will meet in game two of the series on Saturday afternoon at 2:00 p.m.