HARTSVILLE, S.C. -- The Coker College baseball team split a doubleheader with Kentucky Wesleyan on Saturday (Feb. 9), losing the first game before picking up a dramatic 4-3 victory in game two.
Chase Bruno came through for the Cobras with two clutch base hits, including the game-winner in the bottom of the seventh to help the Cobras improve to 4-4-1 on the season.
It was an improbable comeback for the Cobras, who didn't muster their first hit of the game until the bottom of the sixth inning. Kentucky Wesleyan's starting pitcher had no-hit the Cobras through the first 5.1 innings before Grant Thompson singled to center field to extend his hitting streak to nine games, and break up the no-hit bid.
Thompson's single was followed by a triple from Lake Lybrand, and then a base hit to right field by Bruno to cut Coker's deficit to just 3-2. RJ Ball followed a Reilly Hall walk with a grounder to shortstop that scored Bruno and tied the game at 3-3.
The Panthers threatened in the top of the seventh, but Lybrand and Casey Demko combined for a clutch double play with two runners on and no outs to help keep Kentucky Wesleyan scoreless.
Will Stallings drew a leadoff work in the bottom of the seventh to set the stage for the dramatic walk-off. Nicolas Herzfeld pinch ran for Stallings, Demko sacrificed Herzfeld to second, and then Thompson was intentionally walked. Lybrand followed with a fly out to right field to advance Herzfeld to third base with Bruno coming to the plate. Bruno took the first pitch for a strike and then roped the next pitch past Kentucky Wesleyan's diving third baseman, scoring the speedy Herzfeld from third.
Mike DeLeo picked up the victory, throwing a scoreless inning of relief in the seventh. Griffin Hollifield was excellent in relief of starter Derek Balbierz, allowing just two hits in 2.1 innings pitched.
The Cobras will be back in action on Tuesday (Feb. 12) when they host Belmont Abbey. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. at Tom J. New Field at Dave Schmotzer Stadium.