No. 22 Coastal makes most of hits to swat Seahawks

ccubase-uncwCoastal Carolina only had three hits, but two were two-run home runs to lead the #22 Chanticleers to a 6-4 win at UNC Wilmington Wednesday night at Brooks Field. Coastal improves to 11-7 and has won four straight while the Seahawks fall to 9-6.

Both home runs – one by Connor Owings and one by Dalton Ewing – came in the fourth inning. Coastal was also able to take advantage of nine walks and three UNCW errors, including one in the ninth to secure the win.

With the game hanging in the balance, Andrew Beckwith came out the CCU bullpen and earned his first save of the season. He entered the game in the sixth inning with two outs, a runner on second and CCU clinging to a one-run lead. The junior promptly got an inning-ending ground ball and retired all 10 batters he faced with two strikeouts. Austin Kitchen (1-0) earned his first collegiate win. The freshman worked 1.2 innings and allowed two hits, one run and one walk with two strikeouts.

UNCW manufactured a run in the bottom of the first to grab an early 1-0 advantage. Leadoff hitter Steven Linkous singled up the middle, stole second, moved to third on a ground out and scored on an RBI ground out by Gavin Stupienski.

After stranding runners in each of the first three innings, Coastal got on the scoreboard in the fourth. G.K. Young started the frame by reaching on an error. Owings then hit his third home run in as many games, clearing the center field wall to give CCU a 2-1 lead. Billy Cooke followed with a walk and scored on a two-run blast by Ewing, who hit his second home run of the season for a 4-1 Chanticleer cushion.

However, the Seahawks tied the game at 4-4 in the fifth. With bases loaded and no outs in the bottom of the fifth, Nick Feight fouled out, but the ball was deep enough to allow Linkous to tag and score despite a strong throw from Coastal’s Ewing. Andy Austin followed with a sacrifice fly to right center field. With two outs and a runner on second, Daniel Stack reached on an infield single behind second base.  Stupienski, running on the play with two outs, never stopped and scored the game-tying run as CCU tried to throw out Stack at first base.

Coastal answered in the top of the sixth to go up 5-4. Cooke walked, stole second, moved to third on a sac bunt and scored on Matt Beaird’s sacrifice fly to left field.

In the top of the ninth, Coastal scored an insurance run for a 6-4 lead thanks to the third error of the game by the UNCW first baseman. With two outs and runners on first and second, Young hit a ground ball to first base, but the throw was errant, allowing Ewing to score.

Coastal tied a team record with five sac bunts in a game. It was the fifth time CCU has accomplished the feat and the first time since 2011 versus Albany.

Coastal Carolina will continue its five-game road swing as well as open Big South Conference play with a three=game series at Longwood this weekend.

Photo courtesy of UNCW Athletics

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