Chants sweep past Mavs, face Clemson on Tuesday

ccubase-cookeslideBilly Cooke accounted for four of CCU’s five runs while Zack Hopeck stuck out a career-high nine to lead #29 Coastal Carolina to a 5-0 win at #24 UTA Sunday, completing the Chanticleers’ second straight road series sweep and marking the first time the Mavericks have been shut out this season.

Overall, Coastal improves to 34-17-1, 19-7-1 in the league, but South Alabama (34-18, 20-7) swept Appalachian State to remain one-half game ahead of the Chants for first place in the Sun Belt East. West Division leader UTA falls to 29-21, 19-8. This was the Chanticleers’ fourth series sweep and they have won six and tied one of the nine league series with a final series remaining with Appalachian State this week.

Cooke was 2-for-4 with a two-run home run, an RBI single and scored once as well. Jordan Gore, Wood Myers and Cory Wood each added two hits as well with Kevin Woodall Jr., and Kyle Skeels adding an RBI.

Hopeck (4-2) registered a couple of career highs in working 5.2 innings, including nine strikeouts and 112 pitches, while walking just one – a two-out walk in the sixth before exiting.  Overall, Hopeck scattered seven hits in his 5.2 innings, including four in innings one and two combined. Austin Kitchen (2.0 innings) and Cole Schaefer (1.1 innings) closed out the game for CCU to secure the team’s seventh shutout of the season.

On the other side, Coastal handed UTA starting pitcher Jakob Hernandez his first loss of the season, falling to 6-1. He allowed seven hits and four runs over six innings. UTA threatened in both the first and second innings, getting consecutive singles to start each frame, but came up empty both times.

However, it was Coastal that would get on the scoreboard first. Josh Crump reached on a bunt single to start the top of the third. Two batters later, Cooke worked the count full before launching his ninth home run of the season to put the Chants up 2-0.

The Chants added to their lead in the fourth. Myers hit a leadoff single and advanced to third on a Kieton Rivers’ double. Skeels plated Myers with a sacrifice fly for the 3-0 lead.

For the third straight inning, Coastal put a tally on the board for a 4-0 advantage. Cooke started the fifth with a walk and moved to third on a hit-and-run single by Gore. Gore has now reached base safely (hit/walk/hit by pitch) in 22 straight games and has a hit in 21 including a 14-game hit streak and current seven-game hit streak. Woodall followed with a deep fly ball to right-center field that drove in Cooke.

After extending his league-league to 17 home runs yesterday, Woodall extended his league-leading RBI total to 54 with that sacrifice fly.

In the ninth, Coastal used a double by Wood and RBI single by Cooke to provide the 5-0 final score.

The Chanticleers will close the regular-season at nationally-ranked Clemson (6:30 pm Tuesday) before hosting Appalachian State Thursday (2 pm), Friday (6 pm) and Saturday (1 pm).

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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