STATESBORO, GA - Coastal Carolina hit five doubles, including three straight in the fifth inning, and three home runs, including back-to-back shots in the seventh, to take a 15-2 decision at Georgia Southern Friday night at J.I. Clements Stadium.
The 20th-ranked Chanticleers clinch the conference series win and improve to 21-8 overall, 8-0 in the Sun Belt while the Eagles fall to 12-14, 5-3. The series will conclude Saturday with first pitch set for 1 pm.
For the second straight game, CCU's first three batters (Cory Wood, Seth Lancaster and Kevin Woodall Jr.) each had two hits while Parker Chavers added two hits and three RBI to lead the Chanticleer offense. Lancaster and Chavers each had a home run and a double while Kyle Skeels contributed CCU's third four-bagger of the game.
Like Jason Bilous in the series opener Thursday, CCU starting pitcher Anthony Veneziano (3-0) struggled early but was able to limit the Eagle offense. He only allowed three hits and two runs (one earned) in five complete. Two of the three hits came in the third inning – a two-run home run and a single. After the single, the sophomore retired seven straight before exiting with eight strikeouts for the game.
Coastal Carolina grabbed an early 4-0 lead in the top of the first. Wood started the game with a walk and Lancaster followed a home run to right-center field. The blast was Lancaster's second in as many days and seventh of the season. Zach Biermann walked and scored on a Lee Sponseller triple off the right field "Blue Monster." Kieton Rivers capped the scoring in the top half with an RBI ground out to bring home Sponseller.
The Chanticleers extended their lead to 6-0 in the third. Lancaster hit a leadoff double and Woodall followed with an RBI double to the left-center field gap. Then with two outs, Rivers looped a single over the second baseman's head to plate Woodall.
Georgia Southern took advantage of a CCU error and the long ball to cut its deficit to four, 6-2, in the bottom of the third. Christian Avant reached on an error to start the home half. Two batter later, Mason McWhorter hit an opposite field, two-run home run, just the Eagles' second hit of the game.
Coastal hit three doubles to score four runs in the fifth to grab a 10-2 lead. Woodall hit a leadoff single. Then, with two outs, Rivers walked. From that point, Chavers, Beaird and Michael Koenig hit consecutive doubles to drive in four runs.
In the seventh, Coastal hit back-to-back home runs as part of a five-run inning to provide the 15-2 final. Cameron Pearcey was hit by a pitch to start the inning. Two batters later, Chavers hit a two-run home run over the 25-foot tall "Blue Monster" in right field, becoming just the fifth player to accomplish the feat. (Chavers is the second Chanticleer to clear the "monster" as Lancaster did so last year in the Sun Belt Tournament.) On the next pitch, Skeels crushed a home run over the left field wall. Wood singled and Lancaster walked. The Eagles looked to end the inning on a ground ball, but a throwing error allowed both Wood and Lancaster to score.
Zach McCambley struck out four over three scoreless innings, allowing one hit and one walk. Dylan Gentry worked a 1-2-3 ninth with a strikeout to wrap up the win.