Coker beats Armstrong; pounds out 17 hits for first NCAA tournament win
MOUNT OLIVE, N.C. -- Keith Wolf drove in four runs, while Brinley Griffin and Zach Loraine powered a 17-hit attack to lead No. 4 seed Coker to an 11-6 win against third-seeded Armstrongin the first round of the Southeast Regional of the 2013 NCAA Division II Baseball Championship Thursday at Mount Olive. It's Coker's first NCAA tournament win in its history.
Coker (35-14) advances to a winner's bracket game Friday at 7 p.m. against the winner of Thursday's USC Aiken-Georgia College game. Armstrong (31-16) plays Friday at 3 p.m. against the loser of Thursday evening's Mount Olive-Lincoln Memorial game.
Coker scored a run in the first and jumped out to a 4-0 lead with three runs in the top of the second after Wolf's two-run single and Griffin's rbi-single. Armstrong capitalized on a pair of Coker errors to plate three runs in the bottom of the second. Chris Fritts singled in a run after the Pirates scored on an errors on an infield grounder and a sacrifice attempt to close the gap to 4-3.
That was as close as Armstrong would get as Justin Blechle's two-out triple ignited a two-run fourth inning and Coker added a run in the fifth to extend the lead to 7-3. Dallas Johnson led off the bottom of the seventh with his first home run of the season, but Coker answered with four runs in the top of the eighth, capped by Fico Kondla's two-run double. The Cobras scored their first six runs with two outs.
Coker starter Dan Meyer (7-3) struck out five and allowed only four hits in six innings while benefiting from defensive help from Kondla at first. Kondla's stretch turned a potential throwing error into a 5-4-3 double play to end the second and he turned an unassisted double play in the fifth with a diving catch on a bunt attempt. Reliever Andrew Goot recorded back-to-back strikeouts to end an Armstrong rally in the seventh.
Armstrong starter Ethan Bader (8-1) retired the side in order in the third inning, but went only five innings and suffered his first loss of the season.