Chanticleers capture Sun Belt tournament title

Chanticleers capture Sun Belt tournament title

Lafayette, La. - Zach Biermann, who was the tournament's Community Coffee Most Outstanding Player, had three RBI while Seth Lancaster and Kevin Woodall Jr., each hit home runs and scored three times to lead Coastal Carolina to the 2018 Sun Belt Tournament Championship with an 11-6 victory over Troy in the final Sunday afternoon at Russo Park.

Coastal, also the Sun Belt regular-season champion, improves to 42-17 while Troy falls to 41-19. Coastal has officially punched its ticket to the NCAA postseason and Troy is likely set to earn an at large. The Chanticleers are also among several teams in consideration to host an NCAA Regional. That announcement will be made tonight (Sunday) and while the entire field of 64 will be announced on Monday (May 28) at Noon. The Chanticleers will watch the selection show at Handley's Pub in Carolina Forest.

Biermann was 1-for-4 in the championship game with a two-run double and a sacrifice fly. For the four games in the Championship, Biermann has a tournament-best 12 RBI while adding six runs scored.

Lancaster and Woodall were both named to the All-Sun Belt Tournament team as they tied a tournament record with 10 runs scored in the four games. The duo each hit home runs, giving them each 19 for the season. Lancaster was 2-for-3 in the championship game and Woodall was 3-for-5. Lancaster batted .455, hit three home runs and walked eight times. Woodall batted a team-best .611 and is not batting an even .300 for the season.

Chavers was also named to the All-Tournament team. The freshman was 2-for-4 with two RBI Sunday and posted an impressive .563 batting average in the tournament with seven RBI.

The Trojans raced out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. With one out, Drew Frederic and Joey Denison singled before Brandon Lockridge walked to load the bases. Rigsby Mosley followed with a walk but Zack Hopeck limited the damage by getting an inning-ending double play.

Coastal grabbed a 2-1 lead in the second inning. Biermann and Lee Sponseller walked. With one out, Chavers lined a single through the right side of the infield to score Biermann. Coastal would load the bases when Keaton Weisz was hit by a pitch and Matt Beaird followed with an RBI ground out to plate Sponseller.

The Chants pushed their lead to 4-1 in the third. Lancaster walked and moved to third on when Woodall singled and took second on the throw to third. Biermann brought Lancaster home and moved Woodall to third with a sacrifice fly to deep centerfield. Kieton Rivers reached out and flied out to right, which was deep enough to score Woodall for the three-run lead.

Troy opened the fifth with a double by Matt Sanders. He moved to third on the play due to an error. The misplay would hurt the Chants as Drew Frederic drove in Sanders with an RBI ground out.

Coastal bounced back with five runs in the bottom of the fifth to take a 9-2 lead. Lancaster drew his eighth walk of the tournament – giving him 61 for the season to rank second on the CCU single-season list – and moved to third on a Woodall single. Biermann roped a two-run double to left-center and later scored on a Sponseller single. Chavers then delivered a triple, scoring pinch runner Cameron Pearcey, and scored CCU's fifth run on a Keaton Weisz single.

The Trojans would not go away, getting a leadoff double by Mosley and an RBI single Brody Binder to start the sixth. With two outs and two on, Coastal turned to Davie Inman, who got an inning-ending ground out to keep CCU up six, 9-3.

Hopeck (6-4) earned the win after allowing three runs (two earned) in 5.2 innings. He scattered eight hits and four walks with two strikeouts.

Troy took advantage of a second CCU error in the seventh to cut its deficit to four, 9-5. Frederic had a leadoff single and moved to third on a one-out double by Lockridge. An error on the play allowed Frederic to score and put Lockridge on third. Mosley then scored Lockridge with an RBI ground out.

In the eighth, Troy started the frame with a home run by Noah Prestegard. However, Coastal responded in the home half as Lancaster and Woodall hit back-to-back jacks to put the Chants up 11-6. With the two each hitting home runs, the pair are still tied for the league lead with 19 round-trippers each.

-per Coastal Carolina Athletics