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Coastal Carolina baseball sends seniors off with 13-1 win

Nick Parker
Nick Parker(Bob McCool / CCU Athletics)
Published: May. 21, 2022 at 6:17 PM EDT
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CONWAY, S.C. – Behind a strong seven innings from senior starting pitcher Nick Parker and a pair of home runs from senior designated hitter Tyler Johnson, the Coastal Carolina baseball team routed the South Alabama Jaguars with a 13-1 walk-off win in seven innings on Saturday afternoon at Springs Brooks Stadium.

The Chanticleers finished the regular season at 36-17-1 overall and 21-8-1 in Sun Belt Conference play, while the loss dropped USA to 31-22 overall and 17-13 in league play.

With the win, the Chanticleers recorded their sixth consecutive Sun Belt Conference series win and finished the season with seven conference series wins on the year.

Over the last month of the season, the Chanticleers won 16 out of 18 conference games and 19 out of their last 23 games.

With the 13 runs, the Chants’ offense scored double-digit runs in eight of their last 12 games, including in both wins over the Jaguars this week.

Getting the start on Senior Day, Parker (5-3) went the distance in the win, holding the Jaguars to one run on five hits and six strikeouts over 7.0-complete innings.

Leading the way at the plate in the offensive onslaught was Johnson (3-for-4, 2 HR, 2B, 5 RBIs, 3 runs) with two home runs, including a three-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh inning. In the win, Johnson hit two home runs for the fourth time this season and increased his team-leading total to 16 on the year.

Also staying hot at the plate on Saturday was Eric Brown (3-for-3, HR, 2B, 2 RBIs, 5 runs) who reached base safely in all five of his plate appearances on the day, while senior outfielder Nick Lucky (2-for-2, BB, HBP, 3 RBIs) drove in three RBIs in the win.

USA’s Walker Johnson (4-3) suffered the loss, as he gave up five runs on four hits, three walks, and two strikeouts over 1.2 innings of work, while at the plate the lone run of the game for the Jaguars came off a Landon Jordan (1-for-3, HR, RBI, run) solo home run in the second inning.

Just like the previous two games of the three-game series, the Jaguars scored in the first inning, hitting a solo home run two batters into the game to take a 1-0 lead.

However, the Chants’ offense answered in the bottom half of the inning with back-to-back doubles from Eric Brown and Johnson and an RBI-base hit from Lucky to push the home team in front at 2-1 after one inning of play.

The Chanticleers continued to add to the lead in the second inning, all with two outs, as Matt McDermott led off the rally with a base on balls. After Austin White was hit by a pitch, Eric Brown stayed hot with an RBI-single to drive in McDermott and put the lead at 3-1.

The next two runs would come with the help of the South Alabama pitching, as the Jaguars hit Johnson with a pitch to load the bases and then proceeded to walk the next two Chant hitters to walk in two runs and push the lead to four at 5-1.

Defensively, the Chants made some plays in the third and fourth innings to keep South Alabama off the base paths, as Parker picked a runner off of first base in the third inning before Graham Brown and Eric Brown made back-to-back sliding defensive plays in the field in the fourth frame to keep the four-run lead.

With just two swings in the bottom of the fourth inning, the Chanticleers added to their lead as Eric Brown and Johnson hit back-to-back solo home runs to left field, both coming off the bat at over 100 miles per hour, to run the lead up to six at 7-1 heading into the fifth inning.

Following a 1-2-3 fifth inning by Parker, the senior starter pitched around a one-out single in the sixth inning to turn the game over to the bats in the bottom of the sixth inning who tacked on two more runs on back-to-back RBI-base hits by Lucky and Thomas to extend the lead to 9-1 with three innings to play.

The Chanticleers ended the game early in the bottom of the seventh, as McDermott reached base on an infield throwing error and then quickly scored from second on an RBI-single from White.

Two batters later, Johnson hit a ball deep to left field and out of the stadium for a three-run home run and to walk-off with the 13-1 win.

Coastal Carolina finished the regular season third overall in the Sun Belt Conference standings and will be the No. 3 seed in next week’s 2022 Sun Belt Conference Baseball Championship Tournament held at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery, Alabama. The Chants will play the No. 6 seed on Wednesday, May 25, at 10 a.m. ET/9 a.m. CT.