Owings’ homers lift Chants; rubber match set for Monday

ccubase-owings vs pitt 3 (2)Connor Owings, who hit a game-tying solo home run in a loss Friday, came through with two, two-run home runs Saturday as #26 Coastal Carolina claimed a 7-4 victory versus Liberty Saturday afternoon at Spring Brooks Stadium.

Due to Tropical Storm Ana, Sunday’s baseball game between #26 Coastal Carolina and Liberty was postponed. The teams are now set to play on Monday at 1 pm at Springs Brooks Stadium.

The game was set to begin at 11 am due to inclement weather, but rain did not allow the contest to start until 2:22 pm. Coastal (33-16, 15-5 Big South) and Liberty (31-18, 15-5) dodged the weather most of the day although the decisive sixth inning – when the Flames scored twice and the Chanticleers five times – showed the most potential for ruining the day due to rain.

In that decisive sixth frame, Liberty took advantage of two CCU fielding errors and one mental mistake to take a 3-2 lead. Alex Close reached on a throwing error, Becker Sankey singled and Will Shepherd reached on a throwing error to load the bases with no outs. Sammy Taormina drove in Close with an RBI single to keep the bases loaded. After a pop out, Paxton hit a ground ball back to the mound for a potential inning-ending double play, but CCU only recorded an out at first to allow Sankey to score what was then the go-ahead run.

Coastal Carolina immediately answered in the bottom of the sixth by sending nine men to the plate to score five runs for a 7-3 lead. Michael Paez hit a leadoff single. For the second time in the game Saturday, Owings drilled two-run home run to put the Chants up 4-3. The Chants then loaded the bases thanks to a Zach Remillard hit while G.K. Young and Casey Schroeder were hit by pitches. Remillard scored on a wild pitch and Tyler Chadwick plated Young and Schroeder with a two-run single to left field and kept the lead the rest of the game.

From that point, Chanticleer pitchers Alex Cunningham and Mike Morrison closed out the game to secure the win. Cunningham, making his first appearance in two weeks due to an arm injury, allowed two hits in 1.2 scoreless innings. Morrison allowed an unearned run and two hits in 1.1 innings with no walks and three strikeouts, including the game’s final out with two runners on and the tying run at the plate.

Brock Hunter (3-0) was credited with the win. He allowed one hit and recorded a strikeout in his one inning. Bobby Holmes did not factor in the decision. He left after five-plus innings, allowing six hits and three runs (one earned) with two walks and two strikeouts.

Coastal got on the scoreboard first. Seth Lancaster drew a leadoff walk to start the home half of the third inning. Two batters later, Owings hit the first of his two, two-run home runs for a 2-0 lead.

Liberty cut its deficit in half, 2-1, in the fifth inning. Nick Paxton hit a one-out double and scored on a Nick Salisbury single. The run marked the first earned run CCU freshman pitcher Bobby Holmes surrendered in Big South action (10th appearance and 22.1 innings).

The Flames made the game interesting in the ninth. After a CCU error to start the inning, Liberty pushed than run across and, with two runners on base, sent the tying run to the plate before Morrison recorded a strikeout looking to end the game.

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