Coastal Carolina defeats No. 2/5 Wake Forest, 13-11 at Springs Brooks Stadium

Chanticleers have now won four-straight games
Coastal Carolina baseball
Coastal Carolina baseball(WMBF)
Published: Mar. 8, 2023 at 4:19 PM EST
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CONWAY, SC - The Chanticleers scored six runs in the second inning and three runs in the bottom of the seventh to come from behind twice in a 13-11 midweek home win over No. 2/5 nationally-ranked Wake Forest on Tuesday night in Conway, S.C.

The win was the Chanticleers’ first win over a nationally-ranked opponent this season (1-1) and their first win over a top-10 nationally-ranked foe since defeating No. 8 East Carolina 9-1 at the 2022 NCAA Greenville Regional on May 5, 2022, of last year.

The victory over No. 2/5 Wake Forest was the highest-ranking win over a nationally-ranked team since defeating No. 2 NC State 7-6 in Raleigh, N.C., on April 10, 2019, and the highest-ranked win at home since beating No. 3 North Carolina 5-2 in Springs Brooks Stadium on May 9, 2018.

With the win over the Demon Deacons on Tuesday night, Coastal improved to 27-15 all-time versus Wake Forest and has won nine of the last 10 meetings between the two teams dating back to the 2018 season.

The high-scoring contest was wild from start to finish.

Coastal Carolina’s pitching staff walked 10 hitters and hit five others while striking out 14 Wake Forest hitters and stranding 14 runners on base in the win.

Wake Forest, who had committed just four errors all season long, committed seven errors on the night, which led to nine unearned runs for the Chants.

CCU’s Derek Bender (2-for-5, 2 HR, 5 RBIs, 2 runs) continued his torrid pace at the plate, blasting two home runs and matching his career high of five RBIs to once again lead the Chants offensively, while outfielder Chad Born (1-for-5, HR, 2 RBIs, run) and infielder Ty Dooley (1-for-3, HR, BB, 2 RBIs, 2 runs) each belted a two-run home run in the win.

For Wake Forest, the offense was bolstered by third baseman Brock Wilken (3-for-4, 2 HR, 2 BB, 3 RBIs, 4 runs) and his two home runs, while first baseman Nick Kurtz (2-for-4, HR, 2B, 2 HBP, 2 RBIs, 3 runs) added a home run of his own and two RBIs. The win went to the Chants’ seventh pitcher on the night in Colin Yablonski (1-1), as the righty pitched Coastal out of trouble in the top of the seventh inning, stranding two Wake Forest runners with the Demon Deacons on top 11-10. He fired 1.1-scoreless innings, walking one and striking out two.

Picking up his third save of the year was Teddy Sharkey (3), as the junior right-handed hurler fired 1.2-scoreless innings, striking out two hitters as well. He stranded two runners in the top of the eighth inning and then a 1-2-3 ninth to seal the win. Wake Forest’s reliever Will Ray (0-1) was handed the loss, as the righty gave up two runs, both of which were unearned, on one hit in just 0.2 innings of work.

Both teams came out swinging, as Wake Forest took a 3-0 lead in the top half of the first inning on back-to-back home runs from Kurtz and Wilken, followed by an RBI triple by Justin Johnson, only to see the Chanticleers use a long ball of their own on a two-run home run by Born to cut the Demon Deacons’ lead to one at 3-2 after just one inning of play.

Coastal blew the game open in the bottom of the second inning, as the Chanticleers took advantage of two Wake Forest errors, a walk, a hit by pitch, and a three-run home run over the 20-foot batter’s eye in straightaway center field from Bender to plate six runs in the frame and run out to an 8-3 lead heading into the third inning.

The Demon Deacons would chip away at the Coastal lead with one run in each of the third and fourth innings but was countered by a second home run off the bat of Bender in the bottom of the fourth inning, this time a two-run shot to put the Chants in front 10-5 with five innings to play in the contest.

Wake Forest scored the next six runs by way of a Tommy Hawke RBI single in the fifth, two runs on a bases-loaded walk and double-play ball in the sixth, and a trio of RBI base hits from Pierce Bennett, Kurtz, and Wilken in the seventh to push the visitors back on top at 11-10 heading into the seventh-inning stretch.

The opportunistic Chants struck again in the bottom half of the inning, as a Nick Lucky single and back-to-back Wake Forest errors allowed Graham Brown to drive in Lucky to tie the game up at 11-11.

Two batters later, Dooley launched his first career home run as a Chanticleer deep into the night behind the right-field wall to put the home team back out in front at 13-11 with two innings remaining in the game.

Yablonski and Sharkey combined to strike out two Demon Deacon hitters and strand two more in the top of the eighth and then saw Sharkey send Wake Forest down in order 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth to seal the midweek home win.

Coastal (8-4) will continue its current eight-game homestand versus Illinois (6-4) this weekend, March 10-12, at Springs Brooks Stadium.