Chants’ season ends with stinging defeat to Jackets

Coastal Carolina baseball had its season come to an end on Sunday afternoon as the No. 3 overall seeded Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets defeated the Chanticleers 10-8 in an elimination game at the 2019 NCAA Atlanta Regional hosted by Georgia Tech at Russ Chandler Stadium in Atlanta, Ga.

The Chants finished the season at 36-26-1 overall and won its second-straight Sun Belt Championship.

In a wild contest that saw an ejection, a protest and numerous coaches’ challenges and replays, the Chants managed just two hits over their final four at-bats and gave up a combined seven runs over the sixth and seventh innings in the season-ending loss.

The CCU offense was led by a trio of Chants in senior Zach Biermann (2-for-3, 2 BB, 2 RBIs, 2 runs), senior Kieton Rivers (2-for-5, 2B, RBI, 2 runs) and junior Cory Wood (2-for-4, BB, RBI, 2 runs) who all had two base hits for the game, while junior Scott McKeon (1-for-4, RBI) pushed his hitting streak out to 12-straight games.

For the Yellow Jackets, the top of the order combined to go 10-for-18 overall led by lead-off hitter Luke Waddell (4-for-5, BB, 2 runs) with a game-high four base hits and three-hole hitter Kyle McCann (2-for-4, 3B, 2 BB, 4 RBIs, 2 runs) with a game-high four RBIs.

The loss fell to Coastal’s Jay Causey (1-2), as the junior gave up two runs on two hits in the seventh inning.

GT’s Jonathan Hughes (9-2) picked up the win in relief, as the senior held the Chants to just one run, on one hit and three strikeouts in 2.2 innings of work.

Tristin English (6) registered the save with 3.0-scoreless innings in the win.

Coastal came out on fire right out of the gates in the bottom of the first inning, as Wood lead off the inning with a walk and then moved up to third on an infield double from Rivers as a hard hit ball hit off the glove of the diving third basemen trickled into the outfield.

Two batters later, the Sun Belt RBIs lead in Biermann lined a single to center field to score two and put the home team in pinstripes on the scoreboard first.

Following a double by Kyle Skeels just inside the third base line and a walk to Parker Chavers loaded the bases for McKeon who roped an RBI single to right to plate Biermann and put the Chants up 3-0.

Nick Lucky followed with a sacrifice fly to center field to plate Skeels to cap the “big inning” and extend the lead to 4-0 after one inning of play.

After CCU starting pitcher Scott Kobos (3.0 IP, 5 hits, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K) pitched around two hits in the first inning and a double in the second, the Yellow Jackets broke through in the top of the third on a McCann RBI single and an English sacrifice fly to cut the CCU lead in half at 4-2 midway through the third inning of play.

The Jackets looked to cut into the Chants lead again in the top of the fourth by loading the bases on an infield single, a CCU error and a walk only to see reliever Alaska Abney (2.2 IP, 3 hits, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 K) get a fly out to right field to end the inning without any damage done and keep the men in Teal in front at 4-2.

In the bottom of the fourth, the Chants added to their lead with back-to-back RBI singles from Wood and Rivers, and a sacrifice fly by Skeels to push across three runs and increase their lead out to five at 7-2.

Abney pitched out of trouble again in the top of the fifth, stranding three GT runners after loading the bases on back-to-back hit batters, however, he was not as fortunate in the sixth as the Yellow Jackets loaded the bases for the third-straight inning and got a two-out single from Austin Wilhite to plate two and trim the Chants’ lead to three at 7-4.

GT’s hot bats continued in the top of the seventh as the visiting Jackets took advantage of two-straight walks and a single up the middle to load the bases for the heart of the order. The three and four-hole hitters did their jobs with a bases-clearing triple and an RBI double to give Tech its first lead of the game at 8-7.

Two batters later, Colin Hall hit a chopper past the drawn-in infield to score another run and give the Jackets a 9-7 lead heading into the seventh-inning stretch.

The Chants loaded the bases themselves in the bottom half of the seventh inning, but saw an unfortunate play turn into a double-play to halt their scoring chance as McKeon lined a ball up the middle that took off the glove of the pitcher and rolled to the second basemen who stepped on second and threw to first for the twin killing.

Coastal did get one run on the play, as Biermann scored from third on the double-play to close the gap to one at 9-8 with two innings to play.

GT’s Hall hit a solo home run in the top of the ninth, while English took advantage of a double-play in both the eighth and ninth innings to keep the CCU offense from scoring and allow the Jackets to escape with the 10-8 win.

– Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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