Lancaster's homer proves to be the difference against State
Texas State (11-8, 1-1 in the Sun Belt) matched Coastal Carolina (12-8, 1-1 in the Sun Belt) tit for tat.
It was hard to tell that both teams endured a nearly five-hour 14-inning game just the night before. Eventually, the No. 20 Chanticleers broke through in the eighth inning to come away with a 4-3 win Saturday inside Bobcat Ballpark.
Senior Brandon Courville nearly got out of his first inning unscathed. After taking over in the top of the eighth for sophomore Wes Engle, the Kansas State transfer retired his first two batters. Then Seth Lancaster belted a solo-shot over left-center to hand Coastal the difference-making run. It was same spot where Dalton Ewing homered earlier in the game.
“Last night was our night, we got the hits when we needed to. They got the big hit tonight when they needed to,” junior shortstop Luke Sherley said. “Game three tomorrow we’ll come out and try to win the series.”
For most of the afternoon, it was a pitcher’s duel between Engle and Sun Belt Preseason Pitcher of the Year Andrew Beckwith.
Beckwith cracked first in the bottom of the second on a Luke Sherley RBI-single that put Texas State up 1-0. Coastal tied it the very next inning on a sac-fly before taking a 2-1 lead in the fifth. Junior Derek Scheible knotted the game again during the Bobcats’ next at-bat with a sac-fly of his own.
“That’s a lot of fun, to watch college baseball where both teams are really getting at it,” head coach ty Harrington said. “We had good swings early then (Beckwith) settled in and pitched well, located well. Usually in games like this, there’s something that breaks the game and they came up with a big swing in the eighth inning with two outs.”
Engle and Beckwith both threw seven innings apiece and gave up 13 hits total and five earned runs. Neither of Coastal Carolina’s bullpen pitchers gave up a hit during their two innings of work. As evidence to how staunch Coastal’s fielding was, Texas State only struck out twice the entire game, only left six runners on and only scored three runs.
“They played really, really great defense today, not good defense, really great defense today,” Harington said. “You look at some of the catches (Billy Cooke) made, you look at the plays (Jordan Gore), all the way down to the final turn of the double play and so I thought that they probably won the defensive battle that probably settled the game this afternoon, ultimately.”
Nabbing six hits off Beckwith, a First-Team Preseason All-American was no small feat either. As Sherley put it, a lot of well-hit balls just didn’t fall Texas State’s way.
“(Beckwith has) got that up-top release then he can drop down,” Sherley said. “Just a lot of different things he can do to beat you. His stuff was good, I thought we did a good job. I thought we scored a lot of balls and they just did a good job of making plays.”
Texas State reups with Coastal Carolina Sunday at 1 p.m. in hopes of clinching the conference-opening series.