MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - After James Madison rallied with five runs in the top of the ninth for the lead, Coastal Carolina answered back with two runs without the aid of a hit in the bottom of the ninth to claim an 8-7 decision in a non-conference baseball game on Sunday afternoon at TicketReturn.com Field.
CCU improved to 2-0 while JMU closed its opening weekend at 0-2.
All eight Coastal Carolina runs were scored by players who reached via free bases as JMU limited the Chanticleers to just five hits but issued six walks, hit three batters, delivered a wild pitch and had three costly errors.
JMU faced an early 6-1 deficit but sophomore left-hander Aaron Hoover (Centreville, Va./Westfield) kept the Dukes in the game with shutdown relief. The Dukes trailed 6-2 heading into the top of the ninth before rallying for a big inning.
A dropped fly ball and a walk put two on and a single by junior first baseman Matt Tenaglia (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks East) loaded the bases with one out. Junior Conner Brown (Richmond, Va./Godwin) and senior outfielder Cole McInturff (Centreville, Va./Westfield) walked to bring in a pair of runs and cut the deficit in half. Junior pinch hitter Tyler Gregory (Dothan, Ala./Houston Academy) lifted a sacrifice fly to make it 6-5. A single to right center by senior shortstop Casey Goss (Springfield, Mo./Glenville) completed the comeback for a 7-6 JMU lead.
However, three errors by the Dukes in the bottom half of the inning erased the rally. After the first batter reached via an error, another error on the bunt attempt put two on with no outs. This time the bunt moved both runners into scoring position and an intentional walk loaded the bases to set up the force at home. However, the Dukes tried to turn the double play on a grounder to second and the throw got away to allow two runs to score to decide the game in Coastal’s favor.
Seth Lamando surrendered the go-ahead hit to JMU but was the benefactor from the CCU rally to earn his first win. Starter Ben Smith worked five innings and allowed two runs, one earned on six hits.
Sophomore Chris Huffman (Fort Defiance, Va./Fort Defiance) was the tough-luck loser for the Dukes after allowing the two unearned runs and no hits in 1 1/3 innings. The loss wasted a dominant relief outing by Hoover. He escaped the second three-run inning by the Chanticleers in the second and went on to face one batter over the minimum for 5 1/3 innings. He allowed two hits and walked a batter but benefited from two double plays and struck out two.
Goss finished 3-for-5 with two RBIs and a run scored. Senior second baseman Bradley Shaban (Midlothian, Va./Cosby) and Tenaglia each had two hits. Brown finished with two RBIs, a hit and two walks.
Catcher Will Remillard was 2-for-4 with three RBIs for CCU. Shortstop Brian Pruett had two RBIs.
The Chanticleers took advantage of early wildness from JMU starter Michael Howerton (Chesterfield, Va./Matoaca) to build a sizable lead at 6-1 after two innings. A hit batter and two walks loaded the bases with one out in the first before Will Remillard brought in the first run on an infield single. Pruett’s two-run double bumped the lead to 3-0.
JMU earned one back in the fifth as Goss singled, moved to second on a groundout and scored on Shaban’s RBI single.
However, CCU answered with another three spot in the second. After two outs on three pitches, two walks and a hit batter again loaded the bases. This time Remillard doubled through the left side off of Goss’ glove to make it 5-1. A wild pitch added the sixth run.
JMU’s second run came in the fifth on an RBI single by Brown.
JMU returns to Harrisonburg to play 18 of its next 19 games at home at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park. The home opener is scheduled for Wednesday at 4 p.m.