Having won seven of its last nine games, the Coastal Carolina baseball team was riding high entering a contest with Michigan.
However, the Chanticleers got knocked down Saturday.
Coastal let up four runs to the Wolverines early on and despite fighting back, Michigan pulled away for a 10-4 victory at Springs Brooks Stadium and has now won eight straight games.
“I think we came out a little lackadaisical from the start,” junior center fielder Anthony Marks said. “They went ahead early and kind of took a little fight out of us, which I think we need to be better at and know no matter the deficit, we have a strong enough offense to come back. [It’s important] staying in the game no matter what the score is.”
Coastal (9-5) had a golden opportunity, trailing 4-3, with the bases loaded in the sixth inning, but Wolverines reliever Bryan Pall threw a full-count breaking ball and Connor Owings grounded out to end the inning.
Then, Michigan put up four runs in the top of the seventh inning, and the Chanticleers never recovered.
“At some point you seem like they’re going to fly by and they drag on a little bit but that’s when you really need to be your sharpest and most focused and really where the ballgame is won and lost sometimes,” Marks said of those middle innings. “We scored some and we were right there nipping at their heels with the bases loaded, getting ready to take the lead, and next thing you know they put up four [runs]. That’s where the game can be won or lost and we need to sharpen up our focus in the middle and not be the comeback kids in the eighth and ninth [innings].”
Sophomore designated hitter Carmen Benedetti and Travis Maezes had monster days at the plate for Michigan (10-5). Benedetti went 3-for-5 with four RBIs and one run scored, and Maezes was 2-for-5 with three RBIs and two runs scored.
Meanwhile, starter Brett Adcock (2-1) shined on the mound as he gave up three runs (none earned), struck out seven, scattered three hits and walked three in 5 2/3 innings for the victory.
Chanticleers coach Gary Gilmore gave the Wolverines and Adcock credit for staying on top.
“Obviously today they were way better than us. [Adcock] is really good and we knew that coming in,” Gilmore said. “To be able to compete in that kind of game, you have to match that guy on the pitcher’s mound first and foremost. We didn’t do that in the beginning, scratched our way back into the game and just couldn’t do enough to keep ourselves there. We had one opportunity with the bases loaded and our best hitter at the plate and it takes a lot of guts to throw a full-count bases loaded breaking ball and throw it for a strike; he just didn’t get enough of it to get a hit with it.”
Coastal starter Chase Adkins (1-3) received the loss as he scattered nine hits, walked one, struck out three and allowed four runs (three earned) in 3 2/3 innings.
“You have to tip your hat to those guys; they exploited us pitching-wise pretty much all day,” Gilmore said. “They beat us and we [need to] move on.”
The Chanticleers will try to get back on top of it as they host Michigan State on Sunday at 1 p.m.
“We need to have a statement game and let all the other teams know we’re for real this year; we’re not going to be good one game and lay down the next game,” Marks said. “We need to show everybody we’re here to stay and we’re a good ball team. We’re going to fight.”