No. 19 CCU Uses Eight-Run Eighth Inning to Down No. 13 UNC

Coastal Carolina baseball
Coastal Carolina baseball(WMBF)
Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 10:52 PM EDT
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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The No. 19 nationally-ranked Coastal Carolina Chanticleers improved to 13-0 on the season when scoring double-digit runs, as the Chants came from behind to beat the No. 13 nationally-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels 12-7 on Tuesday night at Boshamer Stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C.

CCU moved to 15-7 overall on the season, while North Carolina fell to 18-7 on the year. It was the first-midweek loss of the season for the Tar Heels.

With the win, the Chants also improved to 3-1 overall versus nationally-ranked top-25 programs this season and 2-1 versus teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).

The Coastal offense was powered by three base hits each from the middle of the order in freshman Caden Bodine (3-for-6, 2 RBIs, 2 runs, SB) and sophomore Derek Bender (3-for-5, 2B, RBI, run), while super senior Nick Lucky (2-for-4, HR, BB, RBI, 2 runs) and freshman Blake Barthol (2-for-4, HR, 2B, HBP, 2 RBIs, 2 runs) both had opposite-field solo home runs.

With the two home runs on Tuesday, the Chants moved to 11-2 on the season when hitting two or more home runs in a game.

For the Tar Heels offensively, the home team had seven runs on seven hits, seven walks, and seven strikeouts. Johnny Castagnozzi (2-for-4, 2B, BB, 2 RBIs) and Tomas Frick (1-for-5, 2 RBIs) both drove in two runs, while Jackson Van De Brake (1-for-3, 2B, BB, HBP, RBI, 2 runs) scored a team-high two runs in the loss.

The two teams combined to leave 19 runners on base for the game, nine for the Chants and 10 for the Tar Heels.

The win went to reliever Teddy Sharkey (3-0), as the junior right-handed hurler pitched 2.1-scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and one walk while striking out two hitters to get the final seven outs of the game.

Coastal starting pitcher Levi Huesman was hot and cold on the mound on Tuesday, as the freshman lefty threw 4.0-hitless innings yet gave up three runs, one of which was earned, on three walks, three hit batters, and one strikeout.

The loss went to UNC reliever Nelson Berkwich (1-1), as the third of seven pitchers in the game gave up two runs on one hit and hit one batter without recording an out.

Miscues got both teams on the scoreboard in the third inning, as back-to-back one-out singles by Bodine and Bender put two runners on base for the Men in Teal. A throwing error by the UNC catcher as he tried to pickoff Bender at first base allowed Bodine to score to put the visitors in front 1-0 midway through the third inning.

However, the sloppy play carried over to the Chants’ defense in the bottom half of the frame, as three hit batters, two errors, a wild pitch, and a fielder’s choice allowed the Tar Heels to plate three runs without a single base hit to take a 3-1 lead.

Fortunately, Huesman got out of the inning with a 6-4-3 double play to get the Chants out of the inning without any more damage done.

As unlucky as the Chants were in the bottom of the third inning, a little luck was on their side in the top of the fourth inning.

After Lucky and Graham Brown picked up back-to-back singles against the defensive shifts to start the inning, the Tar Heels’ starting pitcher Cameron Padgett struck out the next two Chanticleer hitters to look to get out of the inning.

With two outs, Payton Eeles kept the inning alive as he was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Anthony Galason. The transfer outfielder hit a sharp ground ball down the first-base line, which luckily hit off the first base bag and past the UNC first baseman and into the outfield to drive in both Lucky and Brown to tie the game up at 3-3.

North Carolina picked up its first hit of the game with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning as Van De Brake doubled down the left-field line. With the lids off the bats, Frick followed with an RBI single through the left side of the infield to put the home team back in front at 4-3.

Following a walk to put runners on first and second, the Tar Heels’ Casey Cook picked up another two-out base hit with an RBI single to left field to score Frick from second and pushed the Tar Heels’ lead back out to two at 5-3 heading into the sixth inning of play.

The Chanticleers got one run back in the top of the sixth on a solo home run with two outs from Barthol, his third home run of the season, to cut the deficit to one at 5-4. However, in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Tar Heels recorded back-to-back two-out base hits following a lead-off walk to score two more runs to take their largest lead of the game at 7-4 heading into the eighth inning.

Refusing to go away, the Chanticleers battled back in the top of the eighth with another big inning, putting up eight runs in the frame to blow back into the lead at 12-7.

Lucky got things going with a solo home run to left field, his fourth long ball of the season. After a walk and a hit-by-pitch put runners on first and second with one out, Barthol slapped a double down the left-field line to plate Brown from second to trim the North Carolina lead to one at 7-6.

The inning continued with back-to-back walks, with the second one to pinch hitter Zack Beach with the bases loaded to force in the tying run and keep the bases loaded.

The offense took over again from there, as Bodine laced a single off the back foot of the UNC pitcher and into right field to score two more Chants and push the visitors in front at 9-7.

Bender and Tanner Garrison continued the rally with back-to-back doubles, with Bender driving in one run and Garrison scoring two more, to extend the visitors’ lead to 12-7 heading into the bottom of the eighth inning.

Sharkey shut the door on the Tar Heels as he pitched around a lead-off single in the bottom of the eighth and then stranded two more base runners in the bottom of the ninth to send the Chants home with the 12-7 midweek road win.

Coastal (15-7, 4-2 Sun Belt) will remain on the road to face off with the Georgia State Panthers (13-11, 4-2 Sun Belt) for a three-game series in Atlanta, Ga., on March 31-April 2.