Chants knock off Tar Heels for eighth straight victory

ccubase-uncConnor Owings and Billy Cooke extended their respective streaks at the plate to lead #16 Coastal Carolina to a 6-3 win at #13 North Carolina Tuesday evening.

The Chanticleers improve to 28-10 and have won eight straight, 15 of their last 16 and 21 of their last 25. Coastal will host region rival College of Charleston Wednesday at 6 pm.

Owings was 2-for-5 with a double and two-run triple to extend his hitting streak to 17 games. Cooke, who has reached base safely in 29 straight games, was also 2-for-5 with two RBI. G.K. Young added two hits.

CCU starting pitcher Zack Hopeck would not figure in the decision as he only pitched 4.1 innings, but turned in a stellar performance. He scattered six hits and allowed two runs (one earned) while striking out three and walking none. Austin Kitchen (2-0) got the win in relief. The freshman allowed two hits, one run and a walk in his 3.0 innings.

Mike Morrison, who is 5-0, earned his fifth save. He entered with CCU leading 6-3 and a runner on first base. Morrison quickly induced a double play to end the frame. In the ninth, he recorded a strikeout, walked a batter, got a fly out and struck out the final batter. Over his last 16 appearances (33.0 innings and 116 batter faced), Morrison has not allowed an earned run (one total) with 12 hits and eight walks with 47 strike outs.

Coastal raced out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first. Michael Paez drew a one-out walk and moved to third on a Young single. Then, with two outs, Owings drilled a triple to right field to plate Paez and Young. Cooke followed by dumping an 0-2 single to left field to bring home Owings. Tyler Chadwick capped the scoring by lining an RBI double off the left center field wall.

North Carolina got on the scoreboard with a run in the second inning. Brandon Riley hit a leadoff single and Eli Sutherland followed with a double to left to move Riley to third. Two batters later, Zack Gahagan snuck a ground ball up the middle to score Riley and put runners on the corners. Hopeck responded with a strikeout and fly out to limit the damage.

Coastal got that run back and added another in the top of the third to stake a 6-1 advantage. Young doubled off the center field wall and took third on a Zach Remillard single. Two batters later, Cooke lined an RBI single just over the outstretched second baseman’s glove. CCU loaded the bases with one out after Chadwick was hit by a pitch, chasing UNC starter Hunter Williams. Relief pitcher Brett Daniels got a strikeout, but walked Seth Lancaster to force home a run.

The Tar Heels took advantage of a CCU error to scratch across a run in the fourth. Riley hit a leadoff single, moved to second on a ground out and took third on an error. Gahagan delivered a sacrifice fly to center field to make the score 6-2.

UNC threatened in the fifth putting a pair of runners on base. CCU turned to Kitchen out of the bullpen. The freshmen got a ground out and fly out to keep it a four-run game.

Gahagan, who drove in the first two runs for the Tar Heels, hit a two-out, solo home run in the sixth to cut the UNC deficit in half, 6-3, which proved to be the final score.

Photo courtesy of UNC Athletics

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