HARTSVILLE, S.C.- The Coker College baseball team brought an end to their recent skid by defeating Claflin University by a score of 9-4 at Tom J. New Field at Dave Schmotzer Stadium on Tuesday, March 13. Brooks Estrada continued to produce at the dish as he collected three more hits, including a home run on the afternoon. The victory was the second this season over the Panthers.
In the top of the first inning Coker got the start it wanted as Reilly Hall and KJ Curry reached on back-to-back walks. With one out, Brooks Estrada began his productive day at the plate bringing in Hall on a base hit to left center giving Coker the opening lead. One batter later, RJ Ball also sent a shot through the left side, scoring Curry from second easily, putting the Cobras on top 2-0.
After Claflin tied the game at 2-2 in the third, Coker responded right back in the bottom half of the inning. Bryson Conner led off with a single to left and stole second. After a strike out and a groundout moved Conner to third, Thomas Lopez drew a walk to put runners on the corners. Conner Cleary then stepped in and lifted a single into right field giving the Navy and Gold a 3-2 lead.
Claflin picked up a run to tie the game 3-3 in the fourth off of a double after a leadoff single and stolen base.
Later in the fifth, Estrada picked up his second hit on the day and then swiped second base for his fourth stolen base of the season. Ball promptly drove Estrada in with a triple to center. With one out, Cleary drove in his second run of the day, sending a sacrifice fly to center to score Ball, putting Coker up 5-3.
The Cobras tallied three more runs in the home-half of the sixth. With one out, Curry scurried into second with a double to left center. With two outs, Estrada cranked his third home run of the season as it sailed over the left field wall to give Coker a five-run advantage. After Ball drew a walk, Lopez ripped another Navy and Gold double down the left field line to move the score to 8-3.
Claflin drew one run closer in the eighth, but the Cobras tacked on a run of their own in the bottom half. Estrada worked his way on base for the fourth time of the day with a walk, but was thrown out at second attempting to steal. With two outs, Lopez also drew a walk and moved over to second after Cleary singled to the deep hole at second. A batter later, Michael Serafin laced a run-scoring pinch hit single to left to give Coker a 9-4 lead.
Jake Moore pitched the final 1.2 innings and picked up two strikeouts.
Coker piled on 13 hits, with two doubles, a triple, and a home run on the day to pick up their 10th win of the season. Estrada, Ball, and Cleary all secured a multi-hit game. Reilly Hall, Coker's leadoff man, went 1-for-2 with three walks and a run scored.
The Cobras will next take on South Atlantic Conference opponent, Wingate University, as the Bulldogs come into Hartsville on Friday and Saturday, March 16-17. Coker and Wingate will play a single nine-inning game on Friday that will start at 3:00 p.m., followed by a doubleheader on Saturday. Game one of the doubleheader (nine-innings) is slated for a 12:00 p.m. first pitch, with game two (seven-innings) starting approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game.
McDonald's Player of the Game-
Brooks Estrada (3-for-4 | 3 RBI | 2 R | HR | BB | SB)