Chants bounce back to win wild one over Wake Forest

ccubase-18pitchWake Forest scored four runs in the ninth but #22 Coastal Carolina was able to hold on for a 7-6 victory Wednesday evening over the Demon Deacons at Springs Brooks Stadium to split the two-game, mid-week series. The Chanticleers improve to 7-6 and Wake Forest drops to 10-4.

Michael Paez was 2-for-4 with three RBI while Tyler Chadwick added two hits as well. Sophomore second baseman Seth Lancaster was 1-for-2 with two walks and three runs scored. Fellow sophomore Matt Beaird was 1-for-2 with two walks, two runs scored and two RBI, which proved to be the game winners in the bottom of the seventh inning.

As it did yesterday, Coastal got off to another tough start on the mound in the first inning. Jonathan Pryor drew a leadoff walk, Kevin Conway singled and Nate Mondou walked to load the bases. Pryor would score on a wild pitch. After a strikeout, Ben Breazeale walked to load the bases again.  However, CCU starter Adam Hall settled down to record a pair of strikeouts to limit the damage to one run.

The Demon Deacons threatened to have a big inning in the second as well. Johnny Aiello walked and, after a strikeout, Pryor and Conway were hit by pitches to load the bases. Mondou followed with a walk to force in Aiello to give Wake a 2-0 lead. With bases loaded and one out, Coastal turned to senior Mike Morrison, who got All-American Will Craig to pop out and Breazeale to fly out to keep the score 2-0. Overall, Morrison allowed just one hit and one walk with three strikeouts in 2.1 scoreless innings to play a key role in the eventual win.

Coastal tied the game with two runs in the fifth. Lancaster, Beaird and Anthony Marks all walked to start the home half. Paez made it four straight walks to force home Lancaster. With the bases still loaded, G.K. Young tied the game with an RBI ground out to first base.

The Chants took their first lead of the series in the sixth. Chadwick hit a leadoff single and advanced to second on a Billy Cooke sacrifice bunt. Lancaster lined a single past the WFU second baseman to drive in Chadwick. Beaird and Marks followed with walks to load the bases and set the stage for a two-run single by Paez for a 5-2 lead.

Coastal tacked on two more runs in the seventh, which proved to be critical in the win. With two outs, Cooke reached on a single up the middle. He later stole second and third before Lancaster walked. After Lancaster stole second, Beaird looped a single just over the first baseman’s head to bring around both Cooke and Lancaster for a 7-2 advantage.

Wake Forest made it interesting with four runs in the ninth to provide the 7-6 final. Mondou and Craig had consecutive singles while Breazeale walked to load the bases. Mondou scored on a double play and Craig came home on a Gavin Sheets single to center. Aiello cut the deficit to one with a two-run home run to left field. CCU sophomore Bobby Holmes ended the threat by striking out pinch hitter Keegan Maronpot.

Coastal’s Alex Cunningham (1-1) earned the win in relief. The junior allowed one hit and two walks in 3.1 scoreless innings while striking out five. Holmes pitched the final two innings and fanned two to help Coastal tied a season high with 13 strikeouts for the contest.

Parker Johnson (0-1) suffered the loss for Wake Forest as he allowed two hits and three runs in one-third on an inning pitched.

Coastal Carolina will return to action this weekend by hosting the Coastal Carolina Invitational. Friday’s games will feature UNC Greensboro versus Illinois at Noon, followed by UNCG and Coastal at 4 pm. On Saturday, Illinois will play a doubleheader at Coastal, facing UNCG at Noon and Coastal at 4 pm. The three-day event will conclude with Coastal hosting a mixed doubleheader as the Chanticleers will host Illinois at 11 am and UNCG at 3 pm.

Photo courtesy of Big South

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