CONWAY, S.C., Feb. 17, 2012 - Starter Tyler Herb limited James Madison to one run over seven innings and Coastal Carolina struck for six runs spanning the fifth and sixth en route to a 7-1 victory on Friday afternoon at the Caravelle Resort Tournament in the 2012 baseball opener for both teams.
JMU dropped its season opener for the seventh time in the last eight years, including the second time in the last three years starting with a loss at Coastal Carolina.
The Chanticleers grabbed the early lead with a run in the second before chasing JMU senior starter Sean Tierney (Midlothian, Va./Clover Hill) with a four-spot in the fifth. CCU added two in the sixth to widen the gap.
The Dukes outhit the Chants 11-7 but committed five errors. Herb scattered seven hits over seven innings while striking out four and not issuing a free base as he opened his season 1-0. Chris Harrison worked the final two frames allowing four hits with two strikeouts.
Tierney took the loss for the Dukes, allowing four hits in 4 1/3 innings while also issuing four walks and hitting a pair of batters. The loss snapped a swing of seven straight victories without a loss to end the 2011 season for the southpaw.
Designated hitter Bryce Dial was the lone Chanticleer with multiple hits, going 2-for-4 with an RBI, two runs and a triple. First baseman Sloan Gilliam singled, scored and drove in a run. Center fielder Jacob May doubled, walked and scored twice. CCU had just three RBIs in plating its seven runs.
Junior Bradley Shaban (Midlothian, Va./Cosby) went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI in his first career game behind the dish after moving from second base to catcher in the offseason. Junior right fielder Johnny Bladel (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge) had a pair of hits to extend his current hitting streak to 10 games after his hot close to the 2011 campaign.
Sophomore first baseman Ty McFarland (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) had two hits with a double. Junior second baseman Casey Goss (Springfield, Mo./Glendale) had a pair of hits in his JMU debut after transferring from Jefferson College in Missouri.
With the score tied 1-1, May got the Chants rolling in the fifth with a one-out double to right center. Third baseman Rich Whitten walked, and, on a double steal attempt, Shaban's throw to second got away to allow May to score the go-ahead run. Gilliam followed with an RBI single to chase Tierney from the game. Dial then connect on an RBI triple to right center and later scored on a throwing error to complete the four-run rally.
Coastal Carolina added two runs in the sixth, one scoring on a balk and one scoring unearned on a fielding error.
The first run of the game came in the second with Dial singling, moving to second on a wild pitch, ans scoring on a single by catcher Tucker Frawley. JMU's only run came in the fourth with sophomore Conner Brown (Richmond, Va./Godwin) reaching on an infield single, advancing on a pair of groundouts, and scoring on Shaban's single to left.
Two freshmen made their JMU pitching debuts with Michael Howerton (Chesterfield, Va./Matoaca) allowing an unearned run in 2/3 of an inning and Chris Huffman (Fort Defiance, Va./Fort Defiance) allowing two runs, one earned, in the sixth. Senior Josh Futter (Columbia, Md./Wilde Lake) finished with two scoreless innings of relief.
Saturday's game against Boston College has been moved ahead one hour to 10 a.m. With anticipated precipitation for Sunday, JMU will then face Virginia at 6:40 p.m. Saturday evening at BB&T Coastal Field in Myrtle Beach. That game was originally slated for noon Sunday.