CCU baseball hangs on for win

From Coastal Carolina University

CONWAY, S.C. – The 13th-ranked Coastal Carolina University baseball team (25-5, 6-0 Big South) used a six-run seventh inning and held on to defeat High Point (17-14, 4-6 Big South) 10-9 April 9 in Conway, S.C.

Coastal came into the seventh down 5-3, but the Chants sent 11 men to the plate in the inning.  Junior Scott Woodward opened with a single and stole second.  He scored on a double from senior Jose Iglesias.  Redshirt-sophomore Tommy La Stella then singled through the right side, moving Iglesias to third.  High Point then used their third pitcher of the game, but Jaime Schultz hit senior Adam Rice to put runners on first and second.  Iglesias tied the game by scoring on a Schultz wild pitch and sophomore Daniel Bowman gave the Chants the 6-5 lead on a single through the left side.  Redshirt-senior Chance Gilmore and sophomore Taylor Motter walked, the latter scoring Rice.  High Point would get their first out on a fielder's choice that got Iglesias at home.  Junior Rico Noel then scored Gilmore on a sacrifice fly to center.  Woodward brought home the sixth run on a fielding error by Steve Antolik plated Motter.

High Point would not go away, scoring two runs in the eighth and ninth innings.  In the eighth, the Panthers put runners on second and third with one out off junior Matt Laney.  Redshirt-senior Austin Fleet came in and gave up a single to Antolik that scored Matt Gantner.  Fleet struck out pinch hitter Robbie Gilles, but Sal Pezzino struck on an error by sophomore Steven Davis to make it 9-7 Coastal.

La Stella added much needed insurance in the eighth as he led off with a blast over the right field fence.  It was hit seventh home run of the season.  High Point started the ninth with a single by Murray White IV and a double from Nate Roberts to make it 10-8.  Kyle Mahoney singled to right to put runners on the corners.  Junior Matt Rein came in and struck out Gantner for a huge first out.  Max Fulginiti scored Roberts on a sacrifice fly to make it a one-run game but Rein got Antolik to fly out to end the game.

Coastal would score first in the first on a single from Rice that scored Noel.  High Point answered in the second on a Mahoney home run to left off Coastal starter Cody Wheeler.  Coastal took a 2-1 lead in the third as Rice grounded out to short to score Woodward, who singled to open the inning.

High Point would score three in the fourth to take the lead until the Coastal outburst in the seventh.  White singled to open the inning.  Wheeler struck out the next two batters, but a Gantner single and Fulginiti double brought home two runs.  Antolik then singled to center to score Fulginiti.  Coastal scored a run in the fifth on an RBI single from Rice, but High Point answered with a run in the sixth on a Gantner double that brought in Roberts.

La Stella had three hits on the night, including the solo shot in the eighth.  Rice drove in three runs, while he joined Woodward and Bowman with two hits apiece.  For High Point, Gantner and Fulginiti had three hits apiece, while Fulginiti drove in three runs.

Laney earned the win in relief, allowing a run and striking out a batter in two-thirds of an inning.  Rein earned his second save of the season by not allowing a hit in the ninth.  Kyle Starnes took the loss in relief, giving up a run-scoring single in the only batter he faced.

Both starters earned a no decision.  Wheeler struck out six but gave up eight hits and five runs in 5.1 innings.  High Point starter Jamie Serber allowed eight hits and five runs in six-plus innings.

Coastal Carolina now has won 25 straight Big South home games dating back to 2008.

Coastal and High Point will play game two of the three-game set Saturday, April 10 at 2 p.m.