CONWAY, S.C. – Behind career days from Tanner Garrison and Derek Bender, the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers scored 13 unanswered runs to pull away for a 14-5 non-conference home win over the Creighton Bluejays on Saturday afternoon at Springs Brooks Stadium.
The Chants’ offense has exploded the last two games, scoring 14 runs in each of the two wins over Creighton.
CCU’s Garrison (4-for-4, 3 2B, HPB, 4 RBIs, 2 runs) reached base safely in all five of his plate appearances for the game, recording a career-high four hits, three doubles, and four runs scored, while teammate Bender (2-for-4, 2B, 3 RBIs, 2 runs) drove in a career-high three RBIs in the win.
Also driving in multiple RBIs on the game was freshman Blake Barthol (1-for-4, BB, HBP, 3 RBIs,), redshirt sophomore Chad Born (2-for-5, 2 RBIs), and redshirt senior Anthony Galason (1-for-1, 2 RBIs), who had a pinch-hit two-run single in the eighth inning.
Creighton had 11 base hits but scored only five runs, leaving 10 runners on base in the loss.
The Bluejays’ Tyler Lozano (3-for-5, HR, 3 RBIs, run) led the way with a home run and a team-high three RBIs, while Nolan Sanders (2-for-5, 2B, 2 RBIs, run), Colby Canales (1-for-3, 2B, BB, run), and Andrew Meggs (1-for-2, 2B, BB, 2 runs) all had a double in the loss.
Earning the win out of the bullpen for the Chants was Bryce Shaffer (1-0), as the lefty entered the game in the fifth inning and fired 2.2-scoreless innings, striking out five and walking one.
The loss fell to Creighton’s Cade Lommel (0-1), as the reliever gave up just one run over just 0.2 innings. However, the run proved to be the game-winning run for the home-standing Chants.
Coastal starting pitcher Jacob Morrison (4.2 IP, 6 hits, 5 ER, 2 BB, 5 K) cruised through the first two innings of the contest, pitching a 1-2-3 inning in the first and around a walk in the second, but ran into trouble in the top of the third inning.
Creighton’s Canales led off the inning with a double and then after a line drive out, the Bluejays picked up back-to-back doubles from Meggs and Sailors with the latter scoring two runs to put the visitors on top 2-0. Lozano followed with an RBI single to right-center field to extend the lead to 3-0 midway through the third inning.
Coastal got one run back in the bottom of the fourth with the help of a throwing error by the Bluejays on the infield to cut the lead to 3-1, only to see Lozano blast a two-run home run over the 20-foot batter’s eye in straightaway center field in the next half inning to give Creighton a 5-1 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth.
The Bluejays would not score another run for the rest of the game while the Chants’ bats exploded, posting back-to-back five-run frames in the fifth and sixth innings.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Men in Teal loaded the bases on a Caden Bodine single, a Graham Brown double, and a Payton Eeles walk. Bender made the Bluejays pay with a two-run double to left field to put the Chants within two at 5-3.
After a strikeout, hit-by-pitch, and another strikeout loaded the bases with two outs, Barthol took a pitch off the right arm to force in another CCU run to cut the Creighton lead to one at 5-4.
Born, who had the go-ahead three-run home run in the win on Friday night, did it again on Saturday, this time lining a two-run single up the middle to push the home team in front 6-5 after five innings of play.
Following a 1-2-3 top of the sixth inning, in which Shaffer struck out the side, the Chants again got offensive in the bottom half of the inning, as a hit-by-pitch, stolen base, and single put runners on the corners for Bender. The sophomore came through in the clutch once again, placing a single just over the head of the third baseman to score one run and extend the Chants’ lead to 7-5.
That was just the start of another big inning, as Nick Lucky followed with a laser off the top of the wall in right-center field for an RBI double. Garrison then registered his third double of the game, this time to left field, driving in two more runs to double up the Bluejays at 10-5.
Two batters later, following a sacrifice bunt, Barthol drove in Garrison on a ground out to the shortstop to send the game to the seventh with the Chants leading 11-5.
The Bluejays would strand two runners on base in each of the last three innings, including in the top of the eighth when Coastal reliever Davis Tyndall was able to get a 1-2-3 inning-ending double play with the bases loaded to halt the scoring threat.
The Chants added three insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth inning on a bases-loaded RBI groundball out by Barthol and a pinch-hit two-run RBI single up the middle from Galason to put the final score at 14-5.
Coastal (4-2) will go for the series sweep of Creighton (2-3) Sunday at 12:30 p.m. ET at Springs Brooks Stadium.
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