HARTSVILLE, S.C.- The Coker College baseball team opened up its 2018 season with an Opening Day doubleheader against the Chowan University Hawks at Tom J. New Field at Dave Schmotzer Stadium on Saturday (Feb. 3) afternoon. The Cobras took game one from the Hawks 3-0, and fell in game two.
Game one of the doubleheader featured a gem from junior Michael DeVecchio. In his first game as a Cobra, DeVecchio whirled a complete-game, seven-inning shutout to record his first win on the season. The left-handed pitcher faced 25 Hawks on the afternoon, four over the minimum, on 7.0 innings of work, relenting just four hits, two walks, and struck out four.
The Navy and Gold struck for two runs in the bottom of the third inning on a Jon Koski groundout and Thomas Lopez single. Reilly Hall opened up the frame with a leadoff single to right and moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. Bryson Conner followed with a base hit of his own to left, putting the runners on the corners with no outs for Koski. Koski grounded out to second, but would score Hall on the play to give Coker a 1-0 advantage. One batter later, Lopez ripped an RBI single of his own to left, scoring Conner from second to put the Cobras up 2-0.
Brooks Estrada helped secure an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth giving Coker a 3-0 lead over Chowan. With one out Ball reached on a walk and had KJ Curry pinch run for him. After a Hawks pitching change, Larry McCabe also drew a walk putting runners on first and second for Estrada. The Cobras' right fielder hit a flare into no-man's land in shallow right field, which allowed Curry to scurry home from second for the third run on the afternoon.
Heading into the bottom of the third inning, Coker put two runs on the board off of a Thomas Lopez double. With two away in the inning, Reilly Hall laced a double to deep center field. Bryson Conner struck out swinging, but reached first base on a throwing error by Chowan's catcher, Corey Bolam, putting runners on the corners with two away. Jon Koski worked a walk, loading the bases for Lopez. The Coker senior waited on a fastball and drove it down the left field line, bringing in Hall and Conner with the two-run double.
Later in the fifth inning the Navy and Gold were able to scratch across two more runs. Conner, Koski, and Lopez all worked the count to garner three-straight walks to lead off the inning. RJ Ball lifted a fly ball to left field, scoring Conner on the sacrifice fly. After a fielder's choice, Brooks Estrada lashed a single through the left side to bring in Koski, giving Coker their fourth run on the afternoon.
Coker and Chowan were scheduled to play a doubleheader on Sunday (Feb. 4) as well, though the threat of inclement weather has postponed those games. A makeup date is still to be announced.
The Navy and Gold will be back in action at Tom J. New Field on Friday and Saturday (Feb. 9-10) in a four-game series with Urbana. Each day's games will begin with game one starting at 12:00 p.m. and game two will pick up roughly 30 minutes after the conclusion of game one.
McDonald's Player of the Game- Michael DeVechhio