HARTSVILLE, S.C. – The Coker baseball team got the Conference Carolinas portion of their schedule off to a rough start on Saturday, losing a pair of two run ball games to the Crusaders of Belmont Abbey, 2-0 and 5-3.
Both games saw great pitcher performances on both sides of the field, but it was Abbey that managed to get the big hits when they were needed earning them the victories.
Game one was all about Belmont Abbey’s Steven Thiele (3-0) on the mound. The right-hander allowed just three Coker hits with seven strikeouts in the complete game shutout.
On the Coker side of the ball, Sean Tracy (Farmingville, N.Y.) (0-3) pitched very well for the Cobras as he scattered eight hits, allowed just two runs and had seven punch outs.
Justin Vasquez was Abbey’s leading hitter with three hits, while Tim Dye and Joey Frabasile drove in a run apiece. Roberto Sanchez was the only other Crusader hitter with multiple hits, he had two.
For Coker, Matt Ammons (Chester, S.C.), Jake Frazier (Indian Harbor Beach, Fla.) and Daniel Hiatt (Elwood, Ind.) each had a hit with Frazier hitting a triple.
In game two both sides saw a bit more offensive production, but in the end it came down to pitching.
Coker took a 1-0 lead in the second, but Abbey’s Kyle Buchanan answered the Cobras run with three runs for the Crusaders thanks to a three-run double in the top of the third. Both teams exchanged two run half innings in the sixth, but the Crusaders held on for the 5-3 win in the seventh.
Cody Stull (4-0) got the win with a solid five inning performance. He allowed three runs on four hits with a strikeout. Jonathan Gainey (Hartsville, S.C.) (1-1) took the loss going six innings allowing five runs on seven hits with a strikeout.
Joey Kopp and Jordan Cudney combined for two innings of scoreless baseball in relief for the Crusaders, securing the win.
At the plate, Hiatt was 2-for-3 with two RBIs, while Tyler Witzel (Melbourne, Fla.) also had two hits for the Cobras.
Buchanan finished 1-for-4 with three RBIs and a double and Vasquez had a double and a triple with an RBI and a run scored for the Crusaders.
The Cobras and the Crusaders will complete their three-game series with a single game on Sunday starting at 1:00 p.m.