Chants blow past Gaels in opening round of regional

ccubase-dugoutCoastal Carolina All-Americans Andrew Beckwith and Connor Owings led the second seeded and 15th-ranked Chanticleers to a 5-2 victory over third seed Saint Mary’s in the opening round of the NCAA Raleigh Regional at North Carolina State’s Doak Field.

Coastal Carolina (45-15) will face the winner of NC State and Navy on Saturday with first pitch set for 7 pm. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3.

Beckwith pitched 6.2 innings and scattered six hits to improve to 11-1 on the season. The junior allowed two runs (one earned) with a walk and three strikeouts. Bobby Holmes earned his third save by pitching the final 2.1 innings. The sophomore allowed one hit and struck out five of the eight batters he faced.

Owings had a key two-out, two-run single in the third to give Coastal a 2-1 lead. Michael Paez and G.K. Young each had two hits while Billy Cooke was 3-for-4.

The Gaels (33-24)  jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Anthony Gonsolin hit a two-out, solo home run. Ironically, Beckwith and Gonsolin were teammates in the summer of 2014 at the Madison Mallards in the Northwoods League.

Coastal got on the scoreboard two runs in the third. With one out, Seth Lancaster was hit by a pitch while Matt Beaird and Anthony Marks followed with walks to load the bases. After a pop out, Owings worked a full count and a nine-pitch at bat to line a two-out, two-run single to right center field to give the Chants a 2-1 lead.

The Chanticleers manufactured a run in the fourth to take a 3-1 lead. Young started the frame with a single and moved to second on a Tyler Chadwick sacrifice bunt. Cooke singled through the left side to advance Young to third. Lancaster executed a squeeze bunt to score Young.

Coastal kept the momentum rolling in the fifth by scoring two run for a 5-1 cushion. Marks started the home half by reaching on an error and Paez followed with a double. The two scored on back-to-back wild pitches from Saint Mary’s All-American pitcher Corbin Burnes, despite the right-hander getting a strikeout on the second one.

Burnes (9-2) suffered the loss despite recording eight strikeouts in 4.2 innings but he allowed five hits and five runs with two walks.

Saint Mary’s took advantage of a Chanticleer error to cut its deficit to three, 5-2.  Joey Fiske reached on a one-out error and Anthony Villa was hit by a pitch with two outs. Nate Nolan singled down the right field line to score Fiske.

Holmes entered the game with two outs in the seventh and ended the inning with a ground out. He struck out the side in the eighth and worked a 1-2-3 ninth to close the game.

– Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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