WILSON, N.C.—Junior Bryant Smith (Florence, S.C.) ripped a bases-loaded, three-run double down the left field line in the eighth inning to propel No. 9 seed Coker College to a first-round victory over No. 8 seed St. Andrews Presbyterian College in the 2008 Conference Carolinas Baseball Tournament on Thursday at Barton College’s Nixon Field.
The Cobras improve to 18-29 on the season and will battle top-seeded and No. 1 nationally ranked Mount Olive College at 4 p.m. at historic Fleming Stadium. The Knights, who fell to 13-35, will face No. 7 seed Pfeiffer University in an elimination game at 4 p.m. at Nixon Field.
Coker scored 12 runs on 12 hits while surviving a game that consisted of three lead changes and one tie. SAPC scored its 10 runs on just 11 hits. Smith had a game-high three RBI while sophomore teammate Trey Lynch (Florence, S.C.) plated two Cobra runs. Coker scored the first three runs of the game with a three-run second. Junior Ricky Deleandro (Mentor, Ohio), junior Preston Ford (Cheraw, S.C.), and Lynch all drove in one run in the third for the Cobras. A bases-loaded RBI-groundout by sophomore Alex Ridout (Wake Forest, N.C.) put the Knights on the board in the bottom of the second. A single by junior Will Poole (Pelion, S.C.) scored classmate Scott Amann (New Athens, Ill.), who led off with a double, as Coker regained a three-run advantage (4-1) in the third.
St. Andrews bounced back and took its first lead of the game by scoring five unearned runs in the bottom of the third. Junior J.T. Maquire (Jarrettsville, Md.) provided a two-run single and senior Eric Stone (Laurinburg, N.C.) had a one-run single to highlight the Knights' outburst. Coker tied the contest at 6-6 with a pair of runs in the fourth. Lynch drove in the first run while a senior Julio Gomez (Sante Fe, N.M.) sacrifice fly plated the second Cobra runner. St. Andrews regained the lead with three runs in the sixth including back-to-back RBI-singles by senior Michael Eastwood (Grantsboro, N.C.) and junior Kyle Norris (Laurel Hill, N.C.). The Cobras chipped away at the Knights lead with an unearned run in the seventh before they exploded for five runs in the eighth. A bases-loaded walk by Amann pulled the designated visiting team to within one run before Smith drilled his bases-clearing double just inside the left-field line to put Coker on top for good.
St. Andrews attempted a comeback as senior Sam Williams (Rockingham, N.C.) closed to the score to 12-10 with a sac fly in the eighth but Cobras senior closer Mikael Owens (Columbia, S.C.) registered his sixth save of the season to preserve the win. Coker junior reliever Chris Thomas (Bluffton, S.C.) was credited with the win in the comeback victory. Knights senior Travis Lee (Frederick, Md.) was tagged with the loss.