HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Behind a pair of home runs, first from Chandler Castleberry, then from Jackson Strange, the Anderson University baseball team rallied for three runs in the top of the ninth inning to defeat Coker, 7-6, in South Atlantic Conference action, Sunday afternoon.
Anderson improved to 16-26 overall and 6-15 in the conference by winning its second SAC series of the season and its' fourth decision in its last five outings. Coker fell to 15-24-1 and 7-14 with its third loss in five games.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Castleberry finished the afternoon by going 2-for-3, with the homer, a single and added a walk, while scoring once and driving in a run. Junior Cody Adams added three singles in six at-bats, with senior Brandon Odachowski going 2-for-4 and recording a pair of RBI. Jackson Strange homered and was credited with three RBI on the day.
Freshman Lucas Smith (2-1) earned the win by tossing 3 2/3 innings of relief, while giving up just two singles and a pair of walks – one intentional – and striking out one batter. Christian Carpenter captured his league-leading 11th save of the season by working a perfect ninth inning and fanning one batter.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Adams led off the game with a single to center field, stole second and scored AU's first run of the afternoon when Dillon Carpenter went the other way with a one-out single to left. Two batters later, Odachowski hammered his sixth home run of the season over the left-field fence to give the Trojans a 3-0 lead after a half-inning.
Coker countered with a solo run in the bottom of the second inning, with AU answering with a run in the fifth to take a 4-1 lead. But the Cobras sent 10 batters to the plate and scored five times in the bottom of the fifth to claim a two-run advantage.
Neither team scored in the sixth, seventh or eighth innings, setting up the Trojans' late heroics. With AU trailing by a pair of runs, the Trojans scored three times in the top of the ninth before Coker recorded an out. Castleberry led off the inning by greeting reliever Griffin Hollifield with his team-leading seventh home run of the season over the left-field fence. Odachowski followed by ripping a double to left and Jackson Strange then slugged his third homer of the season beyond the fence in left field to give AU the one-run lead.
Carpenter made the narrow lead stand up, as the hard-throwing right-hander retired the Cobras on order in their final at-bat.
• Trevor Weisner is riding a three-game hitting streak.
• Chandler Castleberry has reached base safely in 18 straight games.
• Dillon Carpenter has reached base safely in his last nine games.
• Brandon Odachowski leads the team with nine multi-RBI games.
• The Trojans have now posted three home runs in a game on three occasions this season – earlier against Erskine (2/27) and Catawba (3/10).
• The Trojans have three conference games remaining on their schedule and trail eighth-place Coker by one game and are 1 ½ games behind seventh-place Lenoir-Rhyne. They trail sixth-place Carson-Newman by 2 ½ games.
Anderson will open a six-game homestand by playing host to Emmanuel, Tuesday night at Memorial Stadium, with first-pitch scheduled for 6 p.m. The Trojans will then welcome longtime rival Erskine to the Electric City for the second time this season on Wednesday. The two teams will square off in a doubleheader slated for a 3 p.m. start.
The Trojans and Mars Hill will close out the regular-season conference slate with a three-game series on Friday and Saturday.