No. 5 Tar Heels battle back to beat No. 25 Chants in 10

After a two-run home run by Cody Stubbs in the ninth inning to force extra innings, North Carolina got a double, infield single and a game-winning single from Grayson Atwood in the 10th inning to give the fifth-ranked Tar Heels a 7-6 win over #25 Coastal Carolina Wednesday night at Boshamer Stadium.

North Carolina improves to 20-5 while Coastal Carolina has its nine-game winning streak stopped and falls to 16-7.

The drama unfolded in the ninth. With one out, Jacob Stallings reached on a single. Then, with two out, Cody Stubbs hit a two-run home run over the right field wall to tie the contest. Coastal got one base runner on in the 10th, a single by Justin Creel, but one of the nation’s top closers, Michael Morin, now 3-0 to go with eight saves, ultimately would strikeout the side.

In the bottom of the 10th with one out, Brian Holberton doubled. Chaz Frank followed with a slow-roller, infield single to shortstop. Atwood sent the home crowd home happy with an RBI single to center field, driving in Holberton for the game winner.

Coastal’s Aaron Burke (4-1) suffered the loss. He allowed three hits and the one run with two strikeouts in 0.2 innings.

Coastal scratched the scoreboard first, taking a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Rich Witten, who reached on a fielder’s choice, moved to second on a Tucker Frawley single. After two wild pitches, Witten scored.

The Tar Heels answered in the bottom of the second, tying the game at 1-1. After loading the bases with two walk and a single, Frank plated Stubbs with a sacrifice fly to right-center field.

Coastal bounced back in the third. Creel was hit by a pitch and Alex Buccilli followed with a double. On the play, the UNC right fielder bobbled the ball to allow Creel to score.

North Carolina again answered, taking advantage of an error in the bottom of the third to tie the game at 2-2. Tommy Coyle drew a leadoff walk. On a hit and run ground ball, Coyle scored from first base after a throwing error as the ball would end up in right field.

The back-and-forth game continued in the fifth with CCU taking a 3-2 lead. Brian Pruett had a leadoff single and moved to second on a North Carolina error. Buccilli welcomed new Tar Heel pitcher Hobbs Johnson with an RBI single to center. Coastal would eventually load the bases after Rich Witten walked with two outs, extending his streak of reaching base safely (hit/walk/hit by pitch) to 20 games, but UNC’s Chris McCue would get a fly out to limit the damage.

On cue, North Carolina answered in the home half and would take its first lead, 4-3. Coyle drew a leadoff walk and moved to second on a Stallings single. After a passed ball moved the two up 90 feet, Mike Zolt singled to drive in Coyle. Stubbs followed with a sacrifice fly to give UNC its first lead.

Coastal regained the lead in the seventh, scoring three times to go up two thanks to three walks, an error and a hit batter. Jacob May started the frame by being hit by a pitch and Creel followed with a walk.

Buccilli laid down a sacrifice bunt but would load the bases, reaching on a fielding error. After a strikeout, Witten delivered an RBI single to left, keeping the bases loaded. Then, with two outs, Ted Blackman and Sloan Gilliam each drew RBI walks for a 6-4 CCU advantage.

For Coastal, Creel and Buccilli led the way each with two hits. Javier Reynoso started for the Chants. He only allowed two hits over four-plus innings, but walked six to allow three runs (two earned). Devin Bradley was in line for the win, pitching two scoreless innings. Austin Kerr, pitching in his 12th games this season, allowed his first earned runs of the season with the two-run home run in the ninth.

Coastal Carolina will stay on the road to open Big South play at Radford for a three-game weekend series. Game time Friday is 6:30 pm with game times for Saturday and Sunday set for 4 pm and 2 pm, respectively.

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