Paez’s perfect day at plate powers Chants’ hit parade

ccubase-paez2Coastal Carolina, led by a 5-for-5 performance by Michael Paez, scored eight runs in the first inning and six in the eighth to open its weekend series with a 19-4 victory over rival Winthrop Friday night at Springs Brooks Stadium.

Paez drove in a career-high six with his career-high five hits. He had a two-run home run and an RBI single in the first inning, an RBI single in the third, a double and scored in the fifth, was hit by a pitch in the seventh and hit a two-run double in the eighth.

The game started two hours late due to rain and an expected pitchers’ duel saw 10 runs scored in the first inning, two by Winthrop and eight by the Chants. Coastal’s eight runs in an inning was the most, ironically, since scoring eight times in the third inning in a 13-2 win at Winthrop (April 12, 2013). The 19 runs were CCU’s most since defeating Stony Brook, 25-7, in the 2010 NCAA Myrtle Beach Regional.

Coastal Carolina (19-6, 3-0 Big South) has now won 10 straight, its best winning streak since reeling off 17 consecutive wins in 2010.

In addition to Paez, Coastal’s offense featured G.K. Young going 3-for-6 with two RBI, Tyler Chadwick going 3-for-4, David Parrett going 2-for-4 with two RBI and Connor Owing going 2-for-4.

Alex Cunningham improved to 5-0 on the season and CCU is 7-0 in the redshirt sophomore’s seven starts this season. Cunningham, who allowed six hits and four walks with six strikeouts in six innings, allowed two unearned runs in the first inning and runs in the second and third innings before Coastal shut down the Eagles the remainder of the contest.

Winthrop (17-9, 1-3 Big South) put a pair of runs on the scoreboard thanks to a Chanticleer error in the first inning. Babe Thomas singled and Anthony Paulsen walked. With two outs, Roger Gonzalez hit a fly ball to left field, which was dropped to allow Thomas and Paulsen to score.

Coastal answered with eight runs in the bottom of the third, thanks to  a pair of two-run home runs and a two-run triple. Anthony Marks started the home half by reaching on an error and Paez connected on an opposite-field, two-run home run, his fourth blast of the season. Owings walked and Zach Remillard hit his third home run of the season, clearing the right field wall. Casey Schroeder walked and Parrett was hit by a pitch. Chadwick brought home Schroeder with an RBI double down the right field line. Al Molina delivered a two-run triple and scored on an Owings single.

The Eagles got one of those runs back in the second inning to make the score 8-3. Mitch Spires drew a leadoff walk and moved to third on a Kyle Edwards double. Tyler Ashbill plated Spires with a sacrifice fly to center field. In the third, Winthrop cut its deficit in half, 8-4. Mark Lowrie hit a leadoff single, advanced to third on a Brad Kaczka double and scored on an Edwards sac fly.

The Chanticleers pushed their advantage back to five, 9-4, with a run in the third. Molina reached on a two-base error and scored on an RBI single by Paez.

Coastal used the long ball once again in the fourth to take an 11-4 lead. Young singled and scored on a two-run home run to center field by Parrett. Parrett, who was 23rd in the NCAA in RBI and 26th in home runs, now has 28 RBI and seven home runs to tie for the team lead.

The Chanticleers added two run in the fifth. Marks singled, Paez reached on an error and Owings loaded the bases with an infield single. Young plated Marks and Paez with a two-run single to right field.

Coastal sent 11 men to the plate and scored six runs in the eighth inning to take a 19-4 lead. Jack Curtis and Josh Crump walked before Marks loaded the bases as he was hit by a pitch. Paez ripped a two-run double and Seth Lancaster followed with a two-run single. Matt Beaird hit an RBI single and Curtis capped with scoring with an RBI ground out.

Sam Kmiec (3-2) suffered the loss, allowing six hits and eight runs (six earned) in 0.2 innings. Mitch Spires led the Eagle offense by going 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI.

Coastal Carolina and Winthrop will play game two of the three-game series on Saturday. First pitch is set for 2 pm.

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