FLORENCE, S.C., Feb. 15, 2013 - Center fielder Jacob May delivered a go-ahead single in the fourth to put his team ahead and the Coastal Carolina bullpen tossed four scoreless innings in a 4-3 victory over James Madison in the season opener for both teams on Friday afternoon at Francis Marion University's Sparrow Stadium.
JMU dropped its season opener for the eighth time in nine years with each of the last three losses (2010, 2012, 2013) coming against the Chanticleerrs.
The Dukes grabbed a lead in the top of the fourth when senior right fielder Cole McInturff (Centreville, Va./Westfield) walked, was bunted to second and scored on a two-out RBI single to right by senior shortstop Casey Goss (Springfield, Mo./Glenville). Senior left fielder Colby Roberts (Benton, Ark./Benton) followed with a triple to center to plate Goss with the go-ahead run and make it 3-2.
However, the lead proved short-lived as the Chants struck back in the bottom of the frame. Right fielder Colin Hering singled and was bunted to second. He came around with the tying run on third baseman Zach Remillard's RBI single. After a steal by Remillard, May came through with his RBI single to right field for what proved to be the game-winning hit.
Starter Tyler Herb recovered from his shaky fourth inning to complete the fifth and earn the victory after allowing three runs on seven hits in five innings. Patrick Corbett, Austin Kerr and Seth Lamando combined on the last four innings, working around four hits and three walks with Lamando earning the save.
The Dukes couldn't follow through on numerous opportunities. They led the Chants in hits 11-7 and also drew six walks but stranded 12 runners on the bases.
McInturff was 2-for-3 with two walks to reach base four times. Roberts and junior third baseman Ty McFarland (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) also had two hits and an RBI. McInturff and senior center fielder Johnny Bladel (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge) each extended hitting streaks to 10 games.
Sophomore right-hander Patrick Toohers (Florham Park, N.J./Seton Hall Prep) suffered the loss for Madison. Freshman Michael Church (Burke, Va./Lake Braddock) made his collegiate debut with two scoreless frames in relief.
After JMU stranded a pair of runners in the first, Coastal took the early lead in the bottom of the inning. Singles by May and Buccilli put two runners on and a groundout pushed both over a base. With two runners in scoring position, catcher Will Remillard plated both with a single to center field.
JMU earned one run back in the third as Roberts singled and stole second. A single by Bladel set up runners on the corners with nobody out and McFarland followed with a hit-and-run RBI single through the right side. With runners still on the corners, a popup and a double play ended the threat.
After the teams traded a pair of runs in the fourth to keep CCU in front, the Dukes put at least one runner on the bases and stranded at least one in each of the last five innings. The best opportunity to deliver a blow came in the seventh when the Dukes got one-out singles by McFarland and redshirt-junior first baseman Matt Tenaglia (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks East). After a groundout, McInturff was intentionally walked to load the bases with two outs, and junior pinch hitter Conner Brown (Richmond, Va./Godwin) flied out to end the inning.
Game two between JMU and CCU will occur Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. with the venue shifting to TicketReturn.com Field in Myrtle Beach.