Conway, S.C. – Led by nine strikeouts from starting pitcher Anthony Veneziano, the Coastal Carolina pitching staff struck out a season-high 17 hitters, while the offense matched its season-high of four home runs in the 19-3 win over the Appalachian State Mountaineers on Thursday night at Springs Brooks Stadium.
The Chants’ 17 punch-outs tops their previous season-high of 14 versus Troy on March 22 and then again at NC State on April 10. The record since 1999 is 19 strikeouts which came versus the College of Charleston on April 23, 2013.
The offense exploded for three “big innings”, scoring four runs in the second and third innings and then plating seven in the seventh inning in the blowout win.
The win pushes Coastal to 29-22-1 overall and 14-12 in the Sun Belt, while App State falls to 21-29 overall and 12-15 in league play with the loss.
Picking up the win for CCU was Veneziano (5-2), as the junior lefty allowed just three hits, one walk and struck out nine batters, matching his career-high, over 5.0-scoreless innings.
Fellow hurler Nick Parker (3.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 hits, BB, 6 K) tied his career-high with six strikeouts out of the bullpen, while Dylan Gentry (1.0 IP, 1 hit, 2 K) fanned two in a scoreless ninth.
The Chants’ trio also only walked two batters in the win.
Offensively, Coastal matched its season-high with four home runs as senior Mike Koenig (1-for-3, GS, 4 RBIs, run) hit his second grand slam of the season in the bottom of the second while fellow senior Zach Biermann (2-for-3, HR, SF, 2 BB, 5 RBIs, 2 runs) added a three-run shot in the bottom of the third inning.
The other two home runs came in the bottom of the seventh, as freshman infielder Nick Lucky (1-for-2, HR, BB, 3 RBIs, run) launched a three-run home run to right field, his first career home run as a Chant, which was immediately followed just one pitch later by a solo shot off the bat of junior second baseman Cory Wood (2-for-6, HR, BB, 2 RBIs, 2 runs).
The four home runs on Thursday night matches a season-high set twice this season in wins at ULM on March 15 and at NC State on April 10.
Lucky and Wood’s back-to-back home runs mark the second time this season that the Chants have hit back-to-back jacks, as Kieton Rivers and Parker Chavers did the honors in the sixth inning in game of the doubleheader versus Georgia Southern on April 20.
App State’s Tyler Tuthill (6-7) suffered the loss, as the lefty was touched up for eight runs on four hits, five walks and three strikeouts in 3.0 innings on the mound.
The Mountaineer’s offense had six different players register a hit on the night led by Alex Leschock (2-for-2, RBI) and Dalton Williams (1-for-1, HR, 2 RBIs) who each came off the bench in the loss.
Coastal jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the second on a Koenig grand slam and then doubled its lead in the next at-bat on a Jake Wright RBI single and a Biermann three-run shot to right field.
While Veneziano was cruising on the mound, pitching around a single in the second, a hit batter and single in the third and a walk in the fourth, the Chants added to their lead with three more runs in the bottom of the fourth on a Biermann sacrifice fly and a two-run RBI single from Kyle Skeels to take an 11-0 lead into the fifth inning.
After adding a run in the sixth on a Wood RBI single and the Mountaineers spoiling the shutout with an RBI single in the top of the seventh, the Chants put the game out of reach for good with a seven-run seventh, highlighted by back-to-back home runs from Lucky and Wood, to take a dominating 19-1 lead.
The Mountaineers picked up a two-run, pinch-hit home run from Williams in the top of the eighth to put the score at 19-3, where it would stand after nine innings of play.
Coastal totaled seven extra-base hits on the night, four home runs and three triples, matching the Mountaineers’ hit total for the entire game.
While the Chant arms struck out 17 batters and walked just two, the CCU offense struck out just four times and walked 13 times in the win.