WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Coastal Carolina baseball took advantage of an error and three bases-loaded walks in the top of the 12th inning to defeat the No. 16 nationally-ranked Wake Forest Demon Deacons 4-1 in extra innings on Tuesday night in Winston-Salem, N.C.
The last 12-inning game for the Chanticleers was a 10-9 walk-off win over Wake Forest back on March 5, 2019.
The win puts Coastal at 2-2 on the season and extends the Chanticleers’ winning streak to six-straight over Wake Forest.
In the top of the 12th, the Chanticleers’ Makenzie Pate got the inning started by reaching base on an error by the Wake Forest shortstop. After Pate swiped second, lead-off hitter Nick Lucky laid down a perfectly placed bunt just inside the third base line for a base hit to put runners on the corners with no outs.
Wake Forest’s eighth pitcher of the night Reed Mascolo (0-1) then proceeded to walk both Eric Brown and Parker Chavers with the latter forcing in Pate from third to put the Chants in front 2-1.
Following back-to-back strikeouts, Mascolo looked to get out of the jam, yet walked two-straight Coastal hitters again, this time Cooper Weiss and Walt Richardson, to force in two more CCU runs and give the men in Teal a 4-1 lead.
That was more than enough support for freshman Keaton Hopwood, as the right-handed hurler struck out the first two batters in the bottom half of the inning and then got the third hitter to fly out to Pate in right field to give Coastal the 4-1 extra-inning win.
The two teams combined for 37 strikeouts and left 22 runners on base for the game.
Despite 20 strikeouts at the plate, the Chanticleers took advantage of eight walks and three hit batsmen, all from the seventh inning on.
The pitching was superb for the Chants, as Coastal’s six pitchers combined to strikeout 17 hitters compared to just two walks and hold the Demon Deacons to just one run after they averaged over 10 runs in their first three games of the year.
Hopwood (1-0) earned the win, striking out three over 2.0-scoreless innings.
Starting pitcher Casey Green did not factor in the decision despite striking out six over 4.2-scoreless innings, while the bullpen arms of Trevor Damron (2.1 IP, 2 K), Luke Barrow (1.0 IP, 2 hits, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K), Josh Jarman (0.1 IP, 1 K), and Teddy Sharkey (1.2 IP, 3K) held Wake Forest to just one run on two hits while striking out eight over 5.1 innings.
Offensively, five different Chants had one hit apiece but none bigger than Pate’s (1-for-4, HR, 2 runs, SB) which was a solo home run in the sixth.
The top of the order combined for four of the Demon Deacons’ seven hits on the night in lead-off hitter Pierce Bennett (2-for-6, run) and Michael Turconi (2-for-5, 2B, RBI).
After both starting pitchers cruised through the first five innings of play, with Coastal’s Green fanning a career-high six batters and stranding six Demon Deacons on base, Pate got the Chants on the scoreboard first in the top of the sixth with a solo home run over the right center field wall. It was the sophomore’s first home run of the season.
CCU’s Damron, who entered the game in the fifth, pitched a clean sixth and seventh inning to keep the Chants’ one-run lead intact heading into the eighth inning.
However, Wake Forest was able to finally breakthrough at the plate in the bottom of the eighth, as a single by Bennett and a wild pitch that moved him up to second would be followed by a ground-rule double to the right-center field gap by Turconi to tie the game up at 1-1.
Barrow was able to get out of the inning with a strikeout, an intentional walk, and a second strikeout to strand two Deacs on the base paths and keep the score tied at 1-1 heading into the ninth inning.
In the ninth, Coastal got a lead-off single from Brown, another single from Chavers, and a walk to Alex Gattinelli to load the bases with no outs.
Yet a hard-hit ground ball to the first baseman by BT Riopelle allowed Wake to get the lead runner out at home for out number one in the inning. A shallow fly out to right field and a strikeout ended the inning with the Chants’ stranding the bases loaded.
Looking for the walk-off win in the ninth, Wake Forest put the lead-off hitter on by way of a hit-by-pitch only to see the Chants’ Jarman and Sharkey combine to strike out the side and send the game into extra innings knotted up at 1-1.
After Coastal left one runner on in the 10th and three more runners on in the 11th, Hopwood was able to pitch around a two-out walk to leave the winning run on first for the Demon Deacons and send the game to the 12th inning.
The Chants (2-2) will return home to host the CCU Baseball Tournament this weekend, Feb. 26-28, at Springs Brooks Stadium. Coastal will take on Bryant (2-1) on Friday, Feb. 26, at 4 p.m. ET.