No. 20 Chants let four-run lead slip away against Bucs

ccubase-owingsCoastal Carolina took a one-run lead into the bottom of the eighth, but Charleston Southern took advantage of  a two-out error to take a 6-4 victory over the #20 Chanticleers Friday night at CSU Ballpark.

Coastal Carolina (34-15, 16-3 Big South) grabbed an early 2-0 lead in the top of the second. G.K. Young reached on a fielder’s choice and, two batters later, Billy Cooke hit a home run over the left field fence. Cooke now has three home runs, two in his last four games.

The Chants doubled their lead in the third inning, once again on the strength of a two-run home run. Matt Beaird reached on a leadoff single. After sacrifice bunt, Michael Paez ripped a two-run shot to left field. The Brooks Wallace Award Candidate now has 11 home runs on the season. Only Chad Sedio of Miami (Ohio) with 12 has more among shortstops in the nation while Pepperdine’s Manny Jefferson joins Paez with 11.

Charleston Southern (18-29, 5-14 Big South) cut its deficit in half, 4-2, in the bottom of the third. Ryan Maksim drew a leadoff walk and moved to third on a single by Cole Murphy. Nate Blanchard plated Maksim with single to right center and Murphy took third on the play. Chris Singleton reached on a fielder’s choice and drove in Murphy on the play.

The Buccaneers made it a one-run game, 4-3, in the fourth when Bryan Dye hit a leadoff home run to right field.

Charleston Southern threatened in the fifth, putting two baserunners on with no outs. However, Coastal’s Alex Cunningham got a strikeout. Sly Edwards smacked a line drive that Seth Lancaster had to leap for to catch. The sophomore then flipped the ball to Paez to complete an inning-ending double play.

The Bucs scored three in the eighth to take a two-run lead. CSU loaded the bases with two outs thanks to two infield singles and a walk. On what looked to be the third out, a CCU error allowed two runs to score for a 5-4 lead. After a walk loaded the bases once again, Brandon Burris drew a walk to force home Kevin Hickey.

CSU relief pitcher Cody Maw (1-2) gave up a leadoff single in the ninth before getting a strikeout and a pair of pop outs to close the game.

Bobby Holmes (4-2) was the tough-luck loser. He allowed two infield hits and three unearned runs. Cunningham was in line for the win, leaving with a 4-3 lead through six innings. He allowed eight hits and three runs. Connor Owings had two hits and stole two bases.

The teams will meet again on Saturday at 4 pm.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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