HARTSVILLE, S.C.- The Coker College baseball team hosted the Urbana University Blue Knights in games three and four of the two-day, non-conference series, on Saturday (Feb. 10) afternoon at Tom. J New Field at Dave Schmotzer Stadium. The Cobras made the Urbana pitching staff labor all afternoon, scoring a combined 20 runs. Coker completed the weekend series sweep over the Blue Knights, winning both games by scores of 11-1 and 9-8.
Behind a solid performance in his first official Coker (4-1) start of the season, Tanner Wofford (1-0, 1.50) locked it down. Wofford kept Urbana (0-3) at bay, as he threw 6.0 innings, giving up just one run on four hits, one walk, and three strikeouts.
Trailing 1-0 going into the bottom of the first inning, it didn't take the Coker bats very long to get hot. Thomas Lopez started off the two-out rally for the Cobras, finding his way on with a walk. Larry McCabe followed by blistering his second triple of the season to deep center field tying the game 1-1. Behind him, Brooks Estrada joined in the festivities with a line drive back up the middle to take a 2-1 lead.
In the bottom of the second inning, Coker got after Urbana's starting pitcher, Parker Orr (0-1, 31.50). The Cobras hung a five-spot on the Blue Knights in the inning, as Jon Koski led it off with a walk. Tanner Crosby gave himself up on a sacrifice bunt, moving Koski into scoring position, before Robert Wilkerson was thumped with a pitch. Reilly Hall then stood in and roped a double to left field, driving in Koski to make it 3-1. Bryson Conner joined in, serving a base hit up the middle to put the Cobras up 4-1 with runners on the corners. With two outs and after Conner stole second, McCabe connected on his second extra base hit on the day, doubling to right, driving in both runs for the 6-1 advantage. McCabe also picked up a stolen base before Estrada walked. On the next play, the Cobras pulled off a successful double-steal, as McCabe took home and Estrada took second, making it 7-1.
In the bottom of the third, the Navy and Gold tacked on two more runs, pulling ahead further, 9-1. After Urbana turned to Tyler Bess out of the bullpen, he walked his first batter in Koski. Crosby then stood in and ripped a double to left field. With one out, Hall lifted a sacrifice fly to left scoring Koski on the play. Conner stood in and added to the hit total, pushing home Crosby on the RBI triple to center.
The final two runs in the game came in the home half of the fifth. Crosby got things started off with a base hit to left and moved to second on a passed ball. After Wilkerson drew a walk, Hall reached on a fielder's choice, putting runners on the corners with one out. Coker pulled off the same magic trick of a double-steal twice, as Crosby took home and Hall took second, putting the Cobras on top 10-1. After a groundout moved Hall to third, Lopez brought home the 11th run on the day with an RBI single to left.
Wofford gave way to Larry Parker in the final frame, as Parker gave up just one hit and walked one in his one inning of work.
The Cobras delivered at the plate, putting the leadoff man aboard four out of the six opportunities. With five extra base hits on the afternoon, the team hit .474 with runners on and .462 with runners in scoring position.
After a five-run first inning from Urbana (0-4), Coker (5-1) rallied to put two runs of their own on the board in the bottom half of the frame. Lake Lybrand led off with a single back up the middle and moved to second on a wild pitch. With two outs, Thomas Lopez ripped a base hit and scored Lybrand. One batter later, Larry McCabe also singled and drove in Lopez, making the score 5-2 in favor of the Blue Knights.
Urbana tacked on three more runs heading into the bottom of the fifth for the Cobras, but that's where the complexion of the game shifted. RJ Ball was walked to lead off the inning. With one out, Michael Serafin was also granted a free pass. With two away, a third walk in the inning was handed to Reilly Hall. With the bases loaded and two outs, Bryson Conner belted a grand slam over the left field wall. The first home run on the season for the Cobras, Conner's blast brought Coker within two of Urbana, as the Blue Knights held an 8-6 lead going into the sixth.
In the sixth inning, Brooks Estrada joined in on the home run party, hitting a solo-shot to left field with one out to make the score 8-7. Ball picked up right after with a base hit to left, and was pinch run for by KJ Curry. Jon Koski then drew yet another walk from the Urbana pitching staff before Connor Cleary pinch hit for Serafin, getting walked himself. With the bases loaded and one out, Lybrand stood in and delivered the go-ahead, game-clinching two-RBI base hit that scored Curry and Koski. The hit gave the Cobras the 9-8 lead, where the line would hold for the remainder of the game.
It was a pitch-by-committee type day for Coker. Drake Adams picked up the start and lasted just 1.0 inning and gave up five runs, only three earned, on three hits, two walks, and struck out two. Behind him, Jake Moore threw for 1.0 inning as well, and gave up just a run, it was earned on three hits and a walk. Devin Rack entered for the third, fourth, and fifth innings, working 3.0 innings, relenting two runs, both earned, on three hits, one walk, and one strikeout.
Derek Roy (1-0, 0.00) entered in the sixth, working only that inning, letting up one hit and struck out one. Roy secured his first win on the season with Lybrand's go-ahead base hit in the bottom of the sixth.
Preseason South Atlantic All-Conference Selection Griffin Hollifield entered and earned his first save in the seventh and shut the Blue Knights down, picking up a strikeout in the process.
The Coker College baseball program will be back at home next weekend for another four-game, two-day series with Alderson Broaddus. The weekend will feature doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday (Feb. 17-18) with game one beginning at 12:00 p.m. and game two starting approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of game one.
McDonalds Player of the Game-
Larry McCabe- (3-for-4 | 3 RBI | 2 R| 3B | 2B | 2 SB)