HARTSVILLE, S.C. – The Coker Cobras split their Conference Carolinas baseball double-header with #24 ranked Erskine College on Saturday afternoon, with the Flying Fleet defeating the Cobras handedly in the first game, 19-2, but Coker bounced back with a 7-4 win in the rubber game of the series. Erskine captured the 2-1 series win and moves to 23-7 on the year and 10-4 in conference play, while Coker is now 16-14 overall and 8-10 in the conference.
Game one looked like it might be a close one, as Coker took a 1-0 lead in the second inning. The lead was short lived as Erskine’s Bryan Fogle cleared the bases with a grand slam to deep centerfield , giving the Fleet a 4-1 lead. The Fleet gave themselves a nice cushion in the fourth, thanks to nine runs and then added six more runs in the sixth with the help of a pair of homers from Drew Willingham and Matt Youngblood. Coker did add a solo run in the fifth, but the Fleet cruised to the easy 19-2 win.
As a team Erskine had four home runs in the game and nine extra base hits.
Carlton Watts (5-0) kept his perfect record on the mound for the Fleet, going seven innings, allowing just two runs on six hits with six strikeouts to earn the win.
Coker’s Tyler Witzel (West Melbourne, Fla.) (3-3) took the loss. He allowed 11 runs on eight hits with a pair of strikeouts in three innings of work.
Greg Huff had four hits including a home run with three RBIs and two runs scored to pace the Fleet, while John bolding picked up three hits with a double, an RBI and two runs scored. Fogle finished the day 1-for-3 with a grand slam home run and four RBIs and Willingham had a team high five RBIs with a double and a home run.
Jordan Buenting (Ankeny, Iowa) was a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate with a double for the Cobras, while Brinley Griffin (Port St. John, Fla.) and Daniel Hiatt (Elwood, Ind.) each drove in a run for Coker.
In game two, Coker was able to score seven runs in the first four innings, while pitcher Matt Long (Florence, S.C.) silenced the Erskine bats through five innings to give the Cobras a 7-0 going into the sixth. The Fleet finally cracked Long in the sixth, scoring four runs before Jonathan Gainey (Hartsville, S.C.) came on to stop the bleeding and close out the game for the Cobras.
Long (7-2) picked up his team high seventh win of the season, going 5.2 innings, allowing four runs on five hits with a strikeout, while Gainey (1) earned his first save of the year with a inning and a third performance that held Erskine scoreless, while allowing just one hit.
Russell Reid (6-3) was tagged with the loss, as he allowed seven runs on 10 hits in 3.2 innings on the hill for Erskine.
Matthew Kearnes (Bay Shore, N.Y.) drove in two runs on three hits for Coker, while Buenting had a triple and two RBIs and Nick Fuoco (Palm Bay, Fla.) had a pair of hits, including a double with an RBI.
Willingham was the lone member of the Fleet with multiple hits; he finished the game 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs, while Fogle and Chas Anthony each had a double with an RBI and a run scored.
Coker ‘s next game will be on Tuesday, March 23, when they play host to the Sand Sharks of USC-Beaufort in a non-conference game starting at 3:00 p.m. at Tom J. New Field.