HARTSVILLE, S.C. - A pair of wild pitches in the seventh inning proved to be the difference as the Wingate Bulldogs (14-16, 5-5 SAC) defeated the Coker Cobras (15-10, 7-6 SAC) 3-2 at Tom J. New Field at Dave Schmotzer Stadium on Friday (Mar. 24) afternoon. It was a game of missed opportunities for both teams. The Bulldogs left 11 men on base in the contest, and the Cobras failed to convert at least three double-play attempts.
Wingate had runners on base with a chance to score in both the first and second innings, but Coker starting pitcher, Will Sutton managed to work his way out of trouble both times. The Cobras capitalized on Wingate's futility by striking for two runs in the bottom of the second.
Bryson Connor singled to center field to lead off the second inning, and eventually advanced to second base on a fielder's choice. Coker right fielder, Brooks Estrada then reached first base on a catcher's interference before Tanner Crosby knocked a single into right field to give the Cobras the 1-0 advantage. AJ Strnad followed with a walk, and then Robert Lybrand reached on an infield to single to the shortstop, who failed to get Crosby out at third base.
Wingate tied the game in the top of the fourth after two failed double-play attempts and a botched play at third base that ultimately loaded the bases for the Bulldogs. Zach Little's single to score Austin Turgeon knotted the game at two runs apiece.
The score remained tied until the top of the seventh when a pair of wild pitches from reliever Cody Brown gave Wingate their third run. The inning began with Little striking out while swinging, but ultimately reaching base on a throwing error by the catcher, Crosby. Little then advanced to second base on a wild pitch from Sutton. Wingate's Bradley Brown followed with a single to put runners on first and third with nobody out. That's when coach Luke Harrigan went to his bullpen and brought Brown in to face Andrew Llewellyn. Brown struck out Llewellyn on an impressive slider, but then threw his second wild pitch of the inning with Colby Barnette at the plate. Little scored the on the wild pitch, to give the Bulldogs the 3-2 advantage and ultimately the win.
Bryson Conner and Tanner Crosby had two hits apiece for the Cobras. Crosby was 2 for 3 with an RBI, and Conner was 2 for 4 with a run scored. Conner now has a six-game hitting streak, dating back to March 11th. Despite the wild pitches, Brown pitched effectively in relief, allowing just one hit and two walks in three innings of work.
Coker and Wingate will meet at Tom J. New Field at Dave Schmotzer Stadium for a double-header on Saturday afternoon. Game 1 is a nine-inning game scheduled for noon ET, and a seven-inning game scheduled for 3 pm ET. Tickets for the games are $5 for adults, $3 for students, and free to all Coker faculty, staff, and students.
McDonald's Player of the Game - Bryson Conner