HARTSVILLE, S.C. – The Coker College baseball team split a doubleheader with the No. 18 Wingate Bulldogs on Saturday, March 17, picking up their first South Atlantic Conference victory of the season. The Cobras won the second game of the series, the first of Saturday's doubleheader with a dramatic 10-9 victory.
Coker quickly jumped out a 5-0 lead in the first inning thanks to five consecutive hits from the middle of their lineup. Brooks Estrada, Mike Serafin, Thomas Lopez, and Larry McCabe all knocked in runs with base hits in the five-run, six-hit inning.
The Wingate offense wouldn't be denied long though. The Bulldogs answered with four runs in the third inning to cut the Cobras' lead to 5-4. Coker immediately responded with two runs in the bottom of the inning, taking advantage of a throwing error by the Bulldogs' third baseman. Connor Cleary and R.J. Ball each singled in a run to push the lead up to 7-4.
Ball followed up his RBI single with a massive blast over the left field wall for his third homerun of the season and an 8-4 lead for the Cobras.
Coker added a run in the seventh, before Wingate came roaring back with a five-run eighth inning to tie the game at 9-9. The comeback ruined what began as an impressive start for Jon Koski. Koski finished with 7.2 innings pitched with a career-high 11 strikeouts and four walks. Additionally, seven of his strikeouts were to the two-three-four batters, with four of Koski's strikeouts coming against Wingate's four-hole hitter.
Brooks Estrada provided the needed spark in the bottom of the eight, as he tripled to right field with two outs. With Serafin at the plate, Wingate's pitcher bonced the ball to the backstop allowing Estrada to score on the wild pitch to give the Cobras the 10-9 advantage.
Griffin Hollifield (2-1) escaped a jam in the ninth to earn the win and help Coker secure its first South Atlantic Conference victory of the season.
Lake Lybrand, Estrada, Lopez, and Ball collected two hits apiece in the victory.
Wingate jumped out to an early 7-0 lead on the Cobras with two runs in the second inning and five in the third.
Coker responded with a run in the third, another in the fifth inning, and then three in the sixth to cut the deficit to 8-5. Connor Cleary was the undisputed star of the game for the Cobras, collecting a hit, two walks, and scoring three runs. Larry McCabe also went 2-3 and knocked in a run.
Coker rallied in the bottom of the seventh inning, bringing the tying run to the plate, but was unable to complete the comeback.
The Cobras will be action again on Wednesday, March 21 when they travel to take on Augusta University on the road. Game time is set for a 5:00 p.m. start from Augusta, S.C. Results from the game can be found by visiting www.cokercobras.com.
McDonald's Player of the Game-