Cunningham’s 14K outing sparks Coastal comeback

ccubase-18Coastal Carolina senior pitcher Alex Cunningham set a school record with 14 strikeouts, but the 18th-ranked Chanticleers needed three runs in the eighth to claim a 7-5 victory over San Francisco in game two of the Tidelands Health Classic at Spring Brooks Stadium on Friday afternoon.

Cunningham did not factor in the decision, leaving the game after 6.2 innings and trailing 4-3. He allowed six hits and four runs with just one walk.

The Chants improve to 6-5 and will play a doubleheader Saturday in day two of the Tidelands Health Classic, facing Winthrop at 1:30 and Albany at 5 pm. The Dons fall to 7-4.

Coastal grabbed a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Cory Wood hit a leadoff single and, two batters later, sophomore Peyton Isaacson hit his first career home run.

The Dons responded in kind to tie the game at 2-2 in the top of the second. Dominic Miroglio singled and Grady Bate followed with a home run to left field.

Jordan Gore broke the deadlock in the fifth with a solo home run to left-center field. The blast put CCU up 3-2 and was the Conway product’s first as a Chanticleer.

However, San Francisco again answered with a home run in the sixth to tie the game once again as Nico Giarratano lined one over the right field fence. Then, the Dons took a 4-3 lead in the frame as Miroglio homered.

In between the home runs in the sixth, Cunningham recorded his 13th strikeout to tie the CCU single-game record. After the second home run, Cunningham ended the inning with a strikeout to set a new school standard with 14. The previous mark was 13, held by Steven Carter versus Winthrop (4/2/04) and Ron Deubel versus Richmond (2/28/98). Cunningham had at least two strikeouts in six innings, including two frames with three.

San Francisco pushed its advantage to 5-3 in the seventh. With two out, Matt Sinatro walked, stole second and scored on an RBI single from Tyler Villaroman.

The Chants tied the game at 5-5 in the bottom of the eighth. Wood Myers singled, stole second and scored on an RBI double from Kevin Woodall Jr. Seth Lancaster then welcomed new Dons’ pitcher Joey Steele with an RBI double of his own. Ewing then singled to left to drive in Lancaster for the 7-5 lead.

Cole Schaefer (1-0) got the win. The senior worked 1.1 innings and allowed three hits and one run. Austin Kitchen earns a save for the second time in as many games.

Joey Steele (0-1) suffered the loss in relief. He allowed four hits and three runs in 1.2 innings.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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