Top seed Coastal Carolina scored four runs in the sixth, four in the seventh and three in the eighth to hand eighth-seeded UT Arlington a 12-2 loss in eight innings in the Chanticleers’ opening game of the 2018 Sun Belt Tournament Wednesday afternoon at Russo Park. UTA won a single-elimination, play-in game Tuesday to advance to the double elimination portion of the event.
The game came to an abrupt halt with two outs in the bottom of the eighth as Zach Biermann hit a two-run home run to give Coastal a 10-run lead (12-2). Per Sun Belt Tournament regulations, games are stopped when a team is leading by 10 or more after seven innings (except the championship game).
Coastal will now face #4 seed South Alabama on Thursday at 4 pm (CT)/5 pm (ET). Per a coin flip, Coastal will be the visiting team. Coastal took 2-of-3 from the Jaguars in early April at Springs Brooks Stadium.
Coastal (39-17) hit three home runs versus the Mavericks (22-34) as Seth Lancaster hit a solo shot, Keaton Weisz had a two-run homer and Biermann hit a two-run home run. With Biermann’s two-run home run to end the game, Coastal now has six walk-off wins this season, including four walk-off home runs.
Biermann (2-for-4) finished with four RBI, Kevin Woodall Jr., was 3-for-4 with three runs scored while Weisz and Matt Beaird each had two hits. Coastal out-hit UTA, 12-10, but the Chants turned two key double plays and stranded 13 Maverick runners on base.
Anthony Veneziano improved to 6-1 on the season. The junior exited after five scoreless innings. He scattered five hits and three walks while striking out seven – his second-best total of the season. While Veneziano is 6-1, Coastal is now 10-1 in his 11 starts and the Chants average an impressive 10.5 runs per games in Veneziano’s 11 starts.
Coastal broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the fourth when Lancaster hit a leadoff home run over the left field wall. Lancaster is now tied with Woodall for the team lead with 17 homers this season while his 31 career round-trippers ties for seventh on the CCU all-time list.
The Chants opened the game up with four runs in the sixth. Woodall hit a leadoff double and scored on Biermann’s RBI single to center. With two outs, pinch runner Cameron Pearcey moved to third on a Parker Chavers single. A wild pitch allowed Pearcey to score. Two pitches later, Weisz hit a two-run home run off the left field foul pole for a 5-0 lead.
Coastal scored four more runs in the seventh to go up 8-0. With bases loaded and no outs, Biermann walked to force home Cory Wood. Kieton Rivers followed with a two-run double down the left field line, scoring Lancaster and Woodall. Chavers delivered a sacrifice fly to center that plated Biermann for the 9-0 lead.
UTA got on the scoreboard with two runs in the eighth. Josh Minjarez and Omar Salinas started the frame with singles. After a ground out moved the pair up 90 feet, Zac Cook hit a two-run single to left-center field.
In the eighth, Beaird hit his second double of the game and moved to third on a fly out. Lancaster brought home Beaird with a sacrifice fly. With two outs, Woodall walked and Biermann followed with his two-run home run that just stayed fair down the right-field line. Biermann now has 12 home runs this season.
Davie Inman registered his fourth hold of the season. He entered in the sixth with CCU clinging to a 1-0 lead. The sophomore worked two scoreless innings and he had two hits, two walks and two strikeouts.