HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Sophomore Tyler Witzel (Melbourne, Fla.) did it all for the Cobras on Saturday earning the win on the mound and hitting a game-winning walk-off home run for a 3-2 win in game two of Coker’s non-conference baseball doubleheader against Bluefield College.
The Cobras lost the first game of the series 8-6, but bounced back with the three two win in game two. The win gives Coker Head Coach Dave Schmotzer 600 career victories, with 515 of those coming at Coker.
Looking at Bluefield and Coker on paper it would appear that they were two very evenly matched teams as they entered the three-game series and games one and two proved that they were. Game one began with each team exchanging a run in the first and second innings, but then in the third inning Bluefield got the upper hand. The Rams scored five runs on five hits in the top of the third to take a 6-1 lead and they never looked back.
An added insurance run in the fourth and another in the seventh gave them eight runs total, enough to secure the victory. Coker tried to mount a comeback with a three-run fifth inning and two more runs in the bottom of the seventh, but Bluefield’s Josh McQuade shut the door on the Cobras in the bottom of the seventh.
Sean Tracy (Farmingville, N.Y.) (0-2) took the loss for Coker. He allowed eight runs on 12 hits with two strikeouts in seven innings on the mound, while David Gibson (2-0) picked up the win for Bluefield. He went five solid innings allowing four runs on nine hits with five strikeouts.
For the Cobras at the plate, Rob Quattrock (Holtsville, N.Y.) was 3-for-4 with a triple and three RBIs, while Daniel Hiatt (Elwood, Ind.) was 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored. Nick Fuoco (Palm Bay, Fla.) and Fico Kondla (Miami, Fla.) each drove in a run, with Fuoco picking up a double.
Kyle Cabral, Travis Weaver, Andrew Dickerson and Andrew Weaver all had two hits and an RBI in the win, while Zac Goodyear had a double and two RBIs.
Game two was all about Coker’s Witzel. Not only is he the reigning Conference Carolinas Pitcher of the Week, but he threw his second complete game in less than seven days and he hit a walk-off home run to win the game.
Like game one, Bluefield took an early 2-1 lead through the first three innings, but then Witzel found his groove. Over the course of the next five innings Witzel allowed just two hits and retired 10 consecutive batters between the fifth and eighth inning. His only base runner during that time was a walk issued in the eighth to Andrew Dickerson.
The Coker offense gave Witzel the help needed to win with a run in the bottom of the seventh thanks to an RBI single by Kondla tying the game at 2-2, but the Cobras failed to plate the winning run at the end of the scheduled seven innings, so they moved to extra innings. And as if it was scripted, Witzel was the lead-off hitter in the bottom of the eighth. After taking the first pitch for a ball, he belted a second pitch he saw nearly 400 feet over the left field fence to give the Cobras the 3-2 win.
Witzel (2-1) went eight strong innings for the win. He allowed just two runs on seven hits and struck out four. McQuad (0-3) took the loss in relief for Bluefield. He allowed one run on two hits in two-thirds of an inning on the mound.
Witzel was 1-for-3 at the plate with the homer, an RBI and a run scored, while Kondla was 1-for-2 with two RBIs.
Cabral had a pair of hits and scored a run, while Jon-Michael Thruett and Andrew Weaver each drove in a run.
The Cobras and Rams will complete their three-game series on Sunday with game three starting at noon on the Tom J. New baseball field at Coker College.