CCU sweeps twinbill from UNCW in walk-off fashion

The Coastal Carolina softball team showed a flair for the dramatic Wednesday afternoon winning both games of a doubleheader against UNC Wilmington in walk-off fashion.

Kiana Quolas homered in the seventh inning to win the first game 4-3 and a sacrifice fly by Cacia Pierre capped a late comeback for a 6-5 victory in the nightcap.

The Chanticleers overcame three-run deficits in each game and notched their third straight one-run victory in two days, while upping their record to 28-18. Quolas also earned both victories in the circle, pitching more than 10 combined innings.

UNC Wilmington (13-27) led 5-2 in the second game before Coastal rallied with single runs in the fifth and sixth and then scored two in the seventh. Quolas hit her second home run of the day – and 10th of the season – with two outs in the fifth. Morgan Noad then crushed a one-out homer to right-center in the sixth – her 11th of the year – to bring CCU to within 5-4.

In the seventh, Jessie Winans drew a leadoff walk and Bri Chiusano beat out a grounder to the pitcher for an infield hit. UNCW then elected to intentionally walk Quolas – who had four hits on the day – to load the bases. Kory Hayden followed with a game-tying RBI single to left. Pierre then lofted a flyball to center and Chiusano slid toward the plate. The umpire called interference on the Seahawks’ catcher for blocking the plate without having the ball, but Chiusano touched home anyway to win it.

Quolas allowed no earned runs and just one hit over 3.2 innings in relief of Ashley Bagwell to improve to 17-9 on the season. She struck out three and walked two.

Coastal took a quick 1-0 lead when Chiusano led off the first with an infield single, stole second and third – her 18th and 19th of the season – and scored when the throw to third went into left field.

After working a perfect first inning Bagwell ran into trouble in the second. UNCW took advantage of a walk, a fielder’s choice and two infield singles to score one run, then RBI singles to left by CJ Moose and Morgan McCann gave the Seahawks a 3-1 lead. They made it 4-1 in the third on three more hits, including another RBI single by Moose.

The Chanticleers got a run back in the bottom of the third as Quolas singled, moved to second on a groundout and scored on an RBI single to center by Pierre. However, UNCW scored again in the fifth to regain the three-run advantage before the Chants’ rallied.

Quolas went 2-for-3 at the plate and scored twice, while Chiusano added two hits and two runs scored. CCU finished with eight hits in the game.

In the opener, Quolas hit her second game-winning home run in two days as she broke a 3-3 tie with a two-out longball over the centerfield fence. She also tossed a complete-game, overcoming a slow start to allow just two earned runs on seven hits.

UNC Wilmington scored all of its runs in the first two innings to take a 3-0 lead. KC Shue hit an RBI triple in the first inning and Camry Phillips had a run-scoring double in the second.

Coastal answered quickly in the bottom of the second, scoring three times to even the game. Jazmin Daigle walked and went to third on Paige Goldsack’s flyball that was dropped by the right-fielder. Pinch-runner Courtney Howell then stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error which also allowed Daigle to score. Noad followed with an RBI double to right, moved to third on a groundout and scored on an RBI single to right by Chiusano to tie it at 3-3.

Hayden made a key defensive play to keep the game tied in the sixth. With runners on first and second, Hayden dove to her left to corral a grounder and made the throw to first from her knees. Quolas, who had two of Coastal’s five hits in the game, followed by getting another groundout to end the inning.

Coastal returns to Big South Conference play this weekend when it hosts Presbyterian College for a three-game series. The teams are scheduled to play a doubleheader starting on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Photo by Joel Beachum

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