Coastal baseball outslugs Creighton in 14-12 Friday night win

Chants Outslug Bluejays in 14-12 Friday Night Win
Chants Outslug Bluejays in 14-12 Friday Night Win(Alexa Castro-Giovanni / CCU Digital Team)
Published: Feb. 24, 2023 at 10:59 PM EST
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CONWAY, S.C. – The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers and Creighton Bluejays combined to hit seven home runs and light up the scoreboard with a combined 26 runs as the home-standing Chants held on for a 14-12 win over the Bluejays on Friday night at Springs Brooks Stadium.

The win snapped a two-game skid for the Chants, while the loss ended a two-game winning streak for Creighton.

Leading the offensive surge for the Men in Teal was outfielder Chad Born (2-for-3, HR, 2B, BB, HBP, sac, 3 RBIs, 4 runs), who blasted a three-run home run in the sixth inning to put the Chants up for good, while both infielder Blake Barthol (3-for-5, HR, 2B, BB, RBI, 4 runs) and outfielder Nick Lucky (1-for-4, HR, BB, RBI, 2 runs) hit solo home runs in the win.

CCU true freshmen Caden Bodine (3-for-3, HBP, 2 BB, 2 RBIs) and Dean Mihos (3-for-4, sac, 2 runs, SB) both had three-hit nights at the plate.

Topping the Chanticleers, Creighton recorded four home runs, with shortstop Nolan Clifford (2-for-5, HR, BB, 5 RBIs, run) hitting a grand slam in the top of the fifth. Fellow Bluejay Jack Grace (2-for-5, 2 HRs, SF, 5 RBIs, 2 runs) hit two home runs and also drove in five RBIs in the loss.

Picking up the win for the Chants on the mound was super senior Jack Billings (1-0), as the righty pitched in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings, giving up three runs, two of which were earned, on just one hit, one walk, one hit batter, and four strikeouts over 2.1 innings.

The save went to fellow reliever Teddy Sharkey (1), as he gave up one run on one hit, two walks, and two strikeouts over 1.2 innings of work.

The Coastal pitching struck out 12 Creighton hitters, but also walked 14 batters on the night, one off the school record for the most walks issued in a single game.

The loss fell to the Bluejays’ Daniel Hammond (1-1), as he surrendered two runs on two hits without recording an out in the bottom of the sixth inning. He allowed the go-ahead three-run home run by Born in the inning.

For the second time this season, Barthol led off the bottom of the first inning with a solo home run to left field to put the home team on top 1-0 just one batter into the lineup. Following a Born double to right and a wild pitch that moved him up to third base, Bodine singled through the right side to push the Chants’ lead to 2-0 after just one inning of play.

Coastal added three runs to its lead in the bottom of the second with the help of a fielding error by the Bluejays and another RBI single by Bodine to extend the lead to 5-0 heading into the third inning.

After the Bluejays took advantage of a throwing error by the Coastal pitcher on a failed pickoff attempt at first base to get on the scoreboard on a sacrifice fly from Grace in the top of the third, it all broke loose in the middle innings.

Down 5-1, Creighton scored seven runs in the top of the fifth inning, highlighted by a grand slam from Clifford and a three-run home run off the bat of Grace to push the visitors in front for the first time all game at 8-5.

The Chanticleers stranded the bases loaded in the bottom half of the fifth, and after a 1-2-3 inning on the mound by Billings in the top of the sixth, it was the Chants’ turn to use the long ball.

In the bottom of the sixth, Lucky led off the inning with a moon shot over the wall in right field to cut the Creighton lead to 8-6. Three batters later, following back-to-back singles by Mihos and Barthol, Born belted a ball deep into the night over the left-field wall to put the home team back on top 9-8. It was Born’s first career home run.

The inning continued, as a walk, fielder’s choice, and a ground out to the right side of the infield put a runner in scoring position with two outs for pinch hitter Anthony Galason. The first-year Chant came through with a single to center field to drive in the runner from second and put Coastal in front 10-8 with three innings to play.

Creighton got one run back in the top of the seventh, this time by way of a solo home run from Nolan Sailors, to trim the Chants’ lead to one at 10-9.

However, the Bluejays could not cool off the Chants’ hot bats, as Graham Brown just missed a grand slam of his own with a sacrifice fly to the warning track in left field, which was followed by an RBI single through the right side by Payton Eeles to give the Chants breathing room at 12-9 heading into the eighth inning.

The two teams were not done scoring, as Creighton took advantage of a Coastal fielding error, a walk, a hit-by-pitch, and then back-to-back bases-loaded walks to again cut the Coastal lead to one at 12-11.

But the Chants once again answered with the bats in the bottom half of the inning, as Barthol lined a two-out double off the wall in right-center field. The next two hitters in Born and Bodine were hit by a pitch and walked to load the bases for Brown. The CCU cleanup hitter lined a ball through the left side of the infield for a two-run single to push the home team back in front by three at 14-11 with one inning to play.

The Bluejays’ Grace led off the top of the ninth inning with a solo home run to right-center field, his second home run of the game, to put the score at 14-12.

Sharkey would settle in and get the next three hitters to go down in order to save the win for the home team.

Coastal (3-2) and Creighton (2-2) will return to action for game two of the three-game weekend series Saturday at 2 p.m. ET.