UNC Wilmington pulls away late to beat Chanticleers

ccubase-gkyoungUNC Wilmington scored three runs in the top of the ninth to pull away for a 7-3 victory versus Coastal Carolina Wednesday night at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark.

Coastal Carolina (9-11) will return to action this weekend, hosting Big South foe Winthrop in a three-game set. Friday’s game time has been moved up one hour with a new first pitch set for 6 pm.

The Seahawks (9-10) put the leadoff runner on base in all nine innings but stranded 15 runners, leaving the bases loaded twice.

UNCW struck first, putting a run on the scoreboard in the top of the third. Josh Abshire hit a leadoff single and moved to second on a ground out. Ryan LaGrange delivered a two-out, RBI single to plate Abshire.

Coastal answered in the home half of the third. John McNulty hit a leadoff single and advanced to second on an Anthony Marks sacrifice bunt. Tyler Chadwick got an RBI single past a diving first baseman and the ball caromed far enough away to drive in McNulty from second.

UNCW regained the advantage in the fourth.  Luke Dunlap drew a leadoff walk. Two batters later, Dillon Bass reached on an infield single, but a throwing error on the play put runners on second and third. Terence Connolly lined a single back up the middle to score Dunlap and Bass. Abshire followed with a single to put runners on the corners. Casey Golden laid down a safety squeeze, scoring Connolly.

The Seahawks had chances to expand their lead in the fifth and sixth innings, loading the bases each frame but came up empty each time.

In the bottom of the sixth, Coastal scored twice to cut its deficit to 4-3. Colin Hering had an infield single and Michael Paez walked. With two out, pinch hitter Riley Norton came through with his first hit of the season, driving in Hering and moving Paez to third. A wild pitch brought Paez home to make it a one-run game.

UNCW scored three times in the ninth after loading the bases with one out. Robbie Thorburn flied out to left, but it was enough to allow pinch runner Steven Linkous to score. With two out and runners on first and third, LaGrange and Corey Dick had back-to-back RBI singles to make it a 7-3 lead.

Christian MasDonald (1-2) was credited with the win, striking out three in his two shutout innings. Cole Schaefer (3-2) took the loss, allowing seven hits and four runs in 3.2 innings.

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