Coastal Carolina head coach Gary Gilmore has detected a pattern in his Chanticleers’ losses early in the 2015 season, including the third one to Kent State Saturday at Springs Brooks Stadium.
The Golden Flashes jumped out to an early lead and never trailed on the way to a dominating 9-1 victory over Coastal in the Chanticleer Classic.
Kent State (4-4) banged out 14 hits and took advantage as Coastal pitching allowed six walks and hit two batters. Starting left-hander Jared Skolnicki worked seven efficient innings on just 82 pitches to earn the win as the Chants managed only four hits.
“I look at our three losses and they’re all three the same,” Gilmore said. “Every wheel comes off, the motor falls out, the whole nine yards. We didn’t do much offensively and we gave up 14 hits and walked and hit eight batters.
“You should expect to lose every game for the rest of your life if you do that.”
After starting the season at 2-2 including a pair of lackluster, lopsided losses to Western Kentucky and Canisius, the Chants had rolled to four straight wins including victories over Georgia Tech, N.C. State and West Virginia.
Then came Saturday’s debacle against Kent State, a program that reached the College World Series with a Cinderella run just three years ago.
Gilmore was left looking for more consistency from his club.
“In the game of baseball, to ever get on the real kind of roll you want to get on, you have to have consistency in what you do,” said Gilmore, who saw his team drop to 6-3. “Today on the mound, outside of Tommy [Durkin] there at the very end, we didn’t have a pitcher go out there and locate and pitch. [Starter Chase] Atkins did a little bit for a couple innings.
“We had two three-up, three-down innings and the other seven we’re scrambling all over the place trying to figure out a way to get those guys out.”
Leadoff hitter Luke Burch went 4-for-5 to lead Kent State's 14-hit attack.
Skolnicki, a 6-foot-2 sophomore, and two relievers limited Coastal to four hits, with only seven Chants reaching base.
“The hitting part, at end of the day, it comes down to their pitcher against our hitters and he was better today,” Gilmore said.
Adkins, a sophomore righty from Powder Springs, Ga., fell to 1-2 with the loss after working five innings, allowing four earned runs on five hits and walking three in his 97-pitch performance.
After Burch opened the game with a double down the third-base line, Adkins walked Jacob Neuschaefer and made an error on a pickoff attempt to put runners at second and third with no outs.
The Chants were in immediate trouble as Zarley Zalewski had an RBI groundout and Alex Miklos an RBI single to give Kent State a quick 2-0 lead.
Coastal bounced back with a run in the second to close to 2-1. Casey Schroeder walked and G.K. Young doubled before Schroeder scored when David Parrett earned an RBI after reaching on shortstop Sawyer Polen's error.
But Parrett was picked off to snuff out a chance at further damage in the inning, leaving Young stranded at third.
“I’ve got to coach us a lot better in some situations and the kids have to play better too,” Gilmore said.
From there, it was all Kent State.
Miklos had a two-run double just fair down the right field line and Burch looped a two-out, two-run single the opposite way also just inside the left-field line to key a four-run sixth for the Golden Flashes. The Chants contributed two walks and a hit batter as Kent State upped the lead to 6-1.
Kent State closed the scoring in the eighth with three runs on three singles, with Coastal pitching again assisting with two walks and a hit batter.
The final 13 Chanticleer batters were retired in order.