HARTSVILLE, S.C.- With runners on first and second with one out in the bottom of the ninth and a 10-10 tie ballgame, Reilly Hall stepped in and drove home the winning run on a base hit to left. The walk off RBI single helped secure the fifth straight win for the Coker College baseball team, picking up their sixth win overall on Friday (Feb. 16) afternoon against Clarion University.
In a game that featured five lead changes, the Coker College Cobras (6-1) came out on top 11-10 over the Clarion University Golden Eagles (0-1) with the help from Reilly Hall. Clarion tied the game 10-10 in the top of the ninth, but that didn't faze the Cobras heading into the home half of the inning.
Lake Lybrand led off the ninth working a walk but was then eliminated at second on a Tanner Crosby fielder's choice. Jon Koski then beat out an infield single, putting runners on first and second with one out for Hall. Hall roped the first pitch he saw, sharply through the left side of the infield. Head Coach Luke Harrigan was waving in Crosby the whole way, as he glided towards the plate and scored the game-winning run for Coker.
Five Cobras had a multiple-hit game as the offense was surely on display. Hall, Larry McCabe, Brooks Estrada, RJ Ball, and Jon Koski all had two hits on the afternoon, combining for six runs driven in.
Clarion took a 3-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth, but the Cobras came back with three runs of their own in the inning. Bryson Conner led off the inning with a double but was able to advance to third after a fielding error by the Golden Eagles' left fielder, Brady Andrews. With one out, Estrada beat out an infield single, driving in Conner. RJ Ball then connected on a double of his own, putting both runners in scoring position. After a wild pitch scored Estrada to make the score 3-2 and putting Ball on third, Connor Cleary and Crosby drew back-to-back walks, loading the bases. Koski then proceeded to hit into a fielder's choice that scored Ball to tie the game 3-3.
Clarion went ahead 6-3 in the fifth, but the Cobras once again continued to fight their way back. McCabe led off with a double to right and moved to third on a passed ball. After Conner walked, Thomas Lopez reached on a fielder's choice, scoring McCabe from third moving Coker within two of the Golden Eagles.
Moving into the bottom of the sixth, Coker was down 7-4, but that quickly changed after a four-run inning from the Navy and Gold. Crosby, Koski, and Hall all worked back-to-back-to-back walks to lead off the inning before McCabe connected on a two-run single to right. With runners on the corners, Conner lifted a sacrifice fly to left scoring Hall. The next batter Lopez sent a hot-shot double down the left field line that scored McCabe giving Coker an 8-7 lead.
Clarion wouldn't quit, going ahead of Coker 9-8 in the top of the seventh. Coker responded with two more runs in the bottom half of the inning. With one out, Crosby drew yet another walk and moved to third after a Koski double. Hall then grounded out to second, advancing the runners 90 feet. McCabe then reached on a fielding error by Clarion's third baseman, Cole Shaffer, which scored Koski to put Coker on top 10-9.
The Golden Eagles tied the game 10-10 in the bottom of the ninth, but the task of holding the Cobras off was too big a task for reliever Kyle Thompson (0-1), who was in his second inning of work.
Clarion pitchers suffered 10 walks on the afternoon, which helped lead Coker to its sixth victory of the season.
Nick Taylor drew the start for Coker and worked 4.2 innings, suffering five runs, three earned, on four hits, with five walks and four strikeouts. Griffin Hollifield entered for 1.1 innings, relenting two runs on two hits. Devin Rack was the third Cobra pitcher, as he worked 2.1 innings and gave up three runs, one earned, on four hits and struck out one. Cody Brown (1-0) came in for the final two outs of the ninth and earned his first win of the season.
Coker will take Saturday off before returning to Tom J. New Field at Dave Schmotzer Stadium to take on the Battlers of Alderson Broaddus University on Sunday (Feb. 18) in a doubleheader. Game one is scheduled for a 11 a.m. first pitch, with game two beginning approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of game one.
Tickets for the baseball games are available at the gate, $5 for adults, $3 for students and free to all Coker faculty, staff, and students.