CCU wins battle of the birds

CCU wins battle of the birds

Story courtesy of Coastal Carolina Athletics

CONWAY – Kyle Skeels had a breakout game, going 3-for-3 with four RBI and a triple shy of the cycle, to lead #29 Coastal Carolina to a 13-6 victory over region rival UNC Wilmington Tuesday night at Springs Brooks Stadium. Tonight's game was originally scheduled for Mar. 14, but was postponed due to inclement weather.

Coastal, winners of six straight overall, improves to 31-16-1 for the season and 59-32 all-time versus the Seahawks (24-23). The Chanticleers additionally sweep the season series with UNCW (with previous wins of 4-1 on Mar. 1 and 13-2 on Mar. 29) and the Chants have won six straight in the series.

The Chanticleers will play their final home non-conference game of 2017 tomorrow (April 10) by hosting another region rival, College of Charleston. First pitch is set for 6 pm.

As for Tuesday's game, Skeels entered the game with just seven hits in 42 at bats (23 games, 13 starts). However, five of those seven hits were for extra bases, including two doubles and three home runs. He added to those totals, as well as his impressive RBI-to-hit ratio, by going 3-for-3 (single, double and home run) with two walks, a career-high four RBI and a career-high four runs scored. He now has 10 hits for 2017 (seven for extra bases) with 11 RBI and 12 runs scored.

Coastal also got two hits each from Billy Cooke (2-for-5), Kevin Woodall Jr. (2-for-5) and Wood Myers (2-for-4) while Woodall and Josh Crump each had two RBI.

Coastal raced out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning. Cooke hit the second pitch he saw off the left field fence for a leadoff double. After stealing third, he easily scored on Woodall's RBI double off the left field wall for an early 1-0 lead. Coastal would load the bases on two walks and a fielder's choice. Skeels then worked the count full and walked to force home Myers. With bases still loaded, Peyton Isaacson lifted a fly ball to left field that was dropped to allow Kieton Rivers, Seth Lancaster and Skeels to score for a five-run lead.

Skeels gave the Chants a 6-0 lead in the third inning as he launched an opposite field home run.  The blast was the redshirt freshman's fourth of the season.

The Seahawks got that run back in the top of the fourth. Terrence Connelly walked and moved to third on a double by Nick Feight. Brian Mims followed with a sacrifice fly to center to bring home Connelly.

Coastal responded with a pair of runs in the home half of the fourth. After a leadoff single by Jordan Gore, Woodall hit his league-best, 16th home run, which left the confines of Springs Brooks Stadium, for an 8-1 lead.

UNCW answered in kind with a two-run home run and two more runs in the top of the fifth to make the score 8-5. Mason Berne drew a leadoff walk and, with two outs, Casey Golden hit his 15th home run of the season. After a walk to Connelly, Feight lined a single off CCU pitcher Anthony Veneziano, but a throwing error on the play allowed Connelly to score and put Feight on third. Mims followed with a single to right field to bring home Feight and cut the Seahawk deficit to three, 8-5.

Undaunted, Skeels started the bottom of fifth with a double and, after moving to third on an error, scored on a Cooke single back up the middle to make the score 9-5.

UNCW made it a three-run game again, 9-6, in the sixth as Berne hit a solo home run.

However, Coastal once again answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth. Myers hit a single and moved to third on a Seth Lancaster single. After Lancaster stole second, Skeels ripped a single to center that plated both Myers and Lancaster tor an 11-6 lead.

Coastal capped the scoring in the eighth as both Rivers (from third) and Skeels (from second) scored on a Crump sacrifice fly to deep right center field. Skeels was able to score on the play as well as the two UNCW collided in the outfield after the catch was made.

Veneziano worked 4.2 innings and allowed four hits and five runs (three earned) with three walks and four strikeouts before exiting after taking a line drive off his right chest. Bobby Holmes (5-3) picked up the win. He allowed three hits and one run in 2.1 innings.