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Riopelle’s Ninth-Inning Home Run Completes Comeback Win

CCU baseball
CCU baseball(WMBF)
Updated: May. 15, 2021 at 12:30 AM EDT
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MOBILE, Ala. – Coastal Carolina snapped South Alabama’s 12-game home winning streak with a 4-2 come-from-behind win over the Jaguars on Friday night which was capped off with a two-run home run in the top of the ninth inning from catcher BT Riopelle.

Trailing 2-0 after the first five innings of play, the Chanticleers scored the final four runs of the game with two runs in the sixth and the winning two runs in the ninth on Riopelle’s seventh home run of the season to complete the comeback win.

Junior pitcher Alaska Abney (2-2) picked up the win, as he pitched the final 2.1 innings of the contest, allowing one hit, one walk, and striking out two batters.

The loss fell to reliever Tyler Perez (0-1), as the senior gave up two runs on one hit, the Riopelle home run, two walks, and three strikeouts in 2.1 innings of relief work.

While neither starting pitcher factored into the decision, both pitched well to keep both offenses at bay.

In just his third career start, Shaddon Peavyhouse threw a career-high 4.2 innings and a career-high 97 pitches in the no-decision. The recent graduate allowed two runs on just three hits, but walked six batters compared to just two strikeouts and saw both USA runs scored on a pair of sacrifice flies.

USA’s starter Miles Smith threw 5.0-scoreless innings before giving up two runs in the sixth. He recorded a quality starter by holding CCU to just two runs on six hits, one walk, and four strikeouts in 6.0 innings of work.

CCU was led at the plate by senior Alex Gattinelli (3-for-3, SAC, RBI) and freshman Billy Underwood (2-for-3, BB, run) who each had multi-hit games, while junior Nick Lucky (1-for-3, 2B, SAC, run) and Riopelle (1-for-4, HR, 2 RBIs, run) had the lone two extra-base hits for the Chants on the game.

For the Jaguars offensively, four different hitters had one hit each in Michael Sandle (1-for-4, 2B, BB, run), Santi Montiel (1-for-4), Andrew Bates (1-for-1), and Cameron Tissue (1-for-3, SF, RBI).

The Chanticleers’ Underwood opened up the game with a single to left field, as the visiting team put a runner on base in each of the first four innings of play yet stranded three and hit into a double play in the third inning.

The Jaguars led off the bottom of the first with a single up the middle and would take a 1-0 lead into the fifth inning with a run in the bottom of the second inning on two walks, a ground out, and a sacrifice fly.

After the Chanticleers went down in order for the first time in the top of the fifth inning, the Jaguars doubled their lead in the bottom half of the inning on a lead-off double, a wild pitch, and another sacrifice fly to put the score at 2-0 with four innings to play.

Coastal’s Teddy Sharkey came into the game and was able to leave the bases loaded with a strikeout to end the inning, which proved to be vital as the Chants tied the score up in the top of the sixth inning.

Trailing 2-0, CCU’s Underwood got the comeback started with a lead-off walk and then advanced to third on a double to the left-center field gap by Lucky to put runners on second and third with no outs.

A ground ball to the right side of the infield from Parker Chavers drove in Underwood from third base to put the Chants on the scoreboard and down 2-1 before a single just inside the third-base line off the bat of Gattinelli plated Lucky to tie the game up at 2-2 midway through the sixth.

The two bullpens kept the game knotted up at 2-2 over the next two innings until a walk to Chavers and a sacrifice bunt by Gattinelli put the go-ahead run on second for Riopelle.

The junior catcher hit a 2-2 pitch high into the Alabama night that was just out of the reach of the leaping South Alabama right fielder to put the home team on top for the first time of the game at 4-2 with a half an inning to play.

Behind two web-gem plays at third base from Cooper Weiss and a routine ground ball to Dale Thomas at second base, Abney sent the Jaguars down in order in the bottom of the ninth to seal the 4-2 Friday night win.

The loss also snapped a three-game losing streak for the Chanticleers.

Coastal (22-21, 6-10 SBC) and South Alabama (26-18, 12-7 SBC) will play game two of the three-game conference series tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. ET.