ANDERSON, S.C. – The Anderson University baseball team will be looking to get back in the win column when South Atlantic Conference-opponent Coker invades Memorial Stadium for a three-game series this weekend.
First-pitch for Friday night's opener is slated for 6 p.m., with Saturday's twin bill set for a 1 p.m. start.
Admission to Trojan baseball games is $5 - students, faculty and staff, along with members of the Trojan Club are admitted free of charge. No dogs are allowed inside Memorial Stadium with the exception of service dogs.
WHO: Anderson Trojans (5-12, 2-4 SAC) vs. Coker Cobras (9-8, 0-6 SAC)
WHERE: Anderson Memorial Stadium; Anderson, S.C.
WHEN: Friday, 6 p.m. / Saturday, 1 p.m.
Live Stats: AUTROJANS.COM
Anderson is 5-12 on the season and has dropped five of its last six decisions after falling at North Greenville on Tuesday.
Sophomore Matthew Overton has started 16 games and shares the team lead with a .333 batting average and is second on the squad with a .604 slugging percentage behind three home runs and four doubles among his 16 hits, while drawing 14 walks. Freshman Chandler Castleberry has drawn a starting nod in all 17 games and is batting .311 entering the weekend series. The native of Waxhaw, N.C., enters the weekend riding an eight-game hitting streak and has reached base safely in all 17 contests. He leads the team with six home runs and 17 RBI, while belting a home run in three straight games. Sophomore Dillon Carpenter is batting .309 on the season and has a pair of doubles, while driving in 10 runs.
Sophomore right-hander Coby Smith holds a team-best 2.16 ERA in six relief appearances on the mound, while classmate Austin Todd has two wins to his credit. Junior right-hander Will Gee has fanned a team-high 23 batters in 21 1/3 innings this season, with Todd striking out 16 batters in 15 innings of work.
LAST TIME OUT
Despite homering three times, including a grand slam off the bat of Castleberry, the Anderson baseball team wrapped up a five-game road swing with a 15-7 setback at North Greenville, two days ago at Ashmore Park.
Sophomore Dillon Carpenter was 2-for-4 on the afternoon, with a pair of singles, while junior Brandon Odachowski added a double and a home run in four at-bats. Castleberry drilled his team-leading sixth homer of the season in the third inning. Overton posted his third homer of the season in the third inning.
Sophomore Christian Carpenter (1-3) took the loss after giving up a run on two hits in 2 1/3 innings of relief. He struck out one and walked one.
After a scoreless first inning, the Crusaders took advantage of three hits, including a pair of doubles, to post three runs in the bottom of the second frame.
But Castleberry hammered a bases-loaded, two-out home run beyond the left-field fence in the third inning for the Trojans' first grand slam of the season to temporarily put AU in front and Overton followed with his third homer of the season on a 2-1 pitch to push the Trojans' advantage to 5-3. North Greenville battled back to tie it with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third and took a 6-5 lead with another run in the fourth inning.
The Crusaders added another run in the sixth on a two-out single and added five more runs in the bottom of the seventh to break the game open, with the Trojans cutting the deficit to 12-6 on Odachowski's solo homer in the eighth. The Crusaders tacked on three more runs in the eighth, with Tyler Miller drawing a one-out walk in the ninth and later crossing the plate on a wild pitch to set the final score.
SCOUTING THE COBRAS
Coker was tabbed to finish eighth in the South Atlantic Preseason Coaches' Poll, after posting a 33-18 overall record last season, including a 12-12 mark and a sixth-place finish in conference play.
Junior right-handed reliever Griffin Hollifield was named to the NCBWA Preseason All-Southeast Region Team and earned Preseason First-Team All-South Atlantic Conference honors after recording a 2.06 ERA in 48.0 innings, striking out 24 and walking seven a season ago.
Coker (9-8, 0-6) is searching for its first league victory and has dropped seven straight after opening the season by winning nine of its first 10 outings. The Cobras are coming off a 15-5 home loss to UNC Pembroke on Wednesday.
THE SERIES vs. COKER
The Trojans and Cobras have met 60 times since the 1998 season, with Anderson holding a 33-27 advantage in the all-time series. The two teams have split the last six matchups.
AU embarks on a season-high nine-game road swing, beginning with a rematch with Emmanuel on Thursday and continuing with a three-game conference series at Carson-Newman over the weekend.