By: Jake Miller
KODAK, TENN.- Coker baseball fell to Carson-Newman 4-3 in a South Atlantic Conference tournament play-in game on Thursday night (Apr. 28).
Carson-Newman opened the scoring in the second, before the Cobras tied the game in the bottom of the third on an RBI single from Darius Coldiron. Coker would take the lead in the fourth, which started with an AJ Strnad infield single. After the first out was recorded, Strnad swiped second during Clint Allen's at-bat. Allen made the most of the situation and doubled to left center to score Strnad and put Coker up 2-1. During Brooks Estrada's at-bat, Allen advanced to third on a wild pitch and later scored when Estrada lifted a sacrifice fly to right, putting Coker up by two in the inning.
The Eagles responded with two in the six to tie it, and scored one run in their half of the eighth. The Cobras dealt with a tough opponent in Eagle right-hander Will Gardner, who tossed his fifth complete game of the year.
Coldiron recorded a team-high three hits in the game, along with two from Strnad. Allen and Estrada each collected one hit in the loss. Griffin Hollifield took the loss on the hill for the Navy and Gold, allowing one earned run on three hits in 2.2 innings. The All-SAC second team selection issued one walk and struck out two in the outing. Forrest Arnold got the start for the Cobras, nearly recording a quality start. The right-hander fired 5.2 strong innings, allowing just three earned runs on nine hits. The All-SAC honorable mention selection walked one and punched out two in his start. Cody Brown came on in the ninth in relief of Hollifield, recording the final two outs of the top of the inning including one by strikeout.
The loss concludes the 2017 Coker baseball season.