ANDERSON, S.C. – Out-hitting Coker 14-3 on the night and capped off by a stellar pitching performance, Anderson University baseball captured the opening game of a three-game set against the Cobras, 9-5, Friday evening at Anderson Memorial Stadium.
Junior right-hander Spencer Earle tossed seven complete innings and held Coker hitters, who entered Friday with over 100 hits as a team for the young season, to just three hits. Earle struck out eight Cobras and did not give up his first hit until the fourth inning.
After Earle threw seven complete, junior reliever Evan Jordan closed the door on the visitors, completing two innings and not allowing a hit. Jordan faced the minimum and struck out one Coker hitter.
While the Trojans received one of their best performances of the year on the mound, Anderson’s offense picked up when it left off, pounding out its third-highest total of hits for a game this season with 14. For their last two contests, the Trojans have totaled 32 hits after posting a season-high total of 18 against North Greenville on Thursday.
Leading the AU attack was sophomore first baseman Steven Cooper with three hits, including two doubles, with a run scored and an RBI. Anderson’s middle infielders of Brett Cash and Kyle Bailey, who were the two hitters ahead of Cooper in the lineup, added two hits apiece as the top of the Trojan order combined for a 7-for-15 evening with two runs scored and four RBI.
With Cooper’s three hits on the evening, the sophomore extended his hitting streak to 14 straight games with four games in the span being multi-hit contests. For the season, Cooper is hitting .319 with a .472 slugging percentage. Cash is now on a five-game hitting streak, while Bailey snaps a three-game hitless span.
Senior Nathan Galliford clubbed his league-leading fifth home run of the season in the first inning to give the home side an early 2-0 lead. After Earle blanked the Cobras in the top-half of the second inning, the Trojans continued their hitting spree with four hits for inning. Senior Paul Como began the bottom-half with a double down the left-field line and senior David Jones drove home Como and LJ Newman, who walked, on a two-RBI single. Later, Cash doubled to bring Jones home to give Anderson a 5-0 advantage after two innings of play. Jones would finish the evening 2-for-2 with the two RBI and a run scored.
Como would add a single in the third to finish with his second-straight multi-hit game and increasing his hitting streak to five games.
Senior Jonathan Zalud, who entered the game 7-for-7 in his last two games, finished 1-for-4 on the night, but continued his hitting streak to six games as he leads the team in average at .419.
For the night, the Trojans were able to maintain the quickness of the Cobra lineup, as they entered the night with 49 stolen bases. Coker’s clean-up hitter, Fico Kondla, added two swipes on the night, bringing his league-leading total to 13 on the season.
With the win, Anderson is now 4-3 in South Atlantic Conference play and tied for fourth-place in the standings, joining this weekend’s opponent, Coker. Currently, the Black and Gold is chasing Lincoln Memorial for the top-spot with a 7-2 SAC record.
AU looks for the series victory on Saturday when the teams lock up for a doubleheader. First pitch of the opening game is slated for 1 p.m.