No. 23 Chanticleers Split a Pair of One-Run Games with No. 16 Duke on Sunday

No. 23 Chanticleers Split a Pair of One-Run Games with No. 16 Duke on Sunday
CCU baseball (Source: WMBF)

CONWAY, S.C. – The Coastal Carolina baseball team split a pair of one-run games with No. 16 Duke on Sunday afternoon at Springs Brooks Stadium, as the No. 23 Chanticleers won game one 8-7 on a walk-off grand slam and had the winning run on base in the bottom of the ninth in the 10-9 game two loss to the Blue Devils.

The split puts Coastal at 1-2 on the season. Duke ended the weekend at 2-1.

Game 1: Coastal 8, Duke 7

Trailing 7-4 and down to their last two outs of the game in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Chanticleers’ Parker Chavers came up to the plate with the bases loaded. After fouling off five-straight pitches, he lined the 10th pitch of the at-bat over the right-field wall for a walk-off grand slam.

The walk-off hit was the second of Chavers’ CCU career, as he had a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the 12th inning in a 10-9 extra-inning win over Wake Forest on March 5, 2019.

The walk-off home run was the first for the Chants since Zach Biermann sent the Chants home happy with a walk-off solo home run in the 10th inning-win over UT Arlington at the 2019 Sun Belt Baseball Championship (May 24, 2019).

The Chavers’ grand slam was the first for the Chants in over a year-and-a-half with the last one coming by way of Cameron Pearcey versus ULM at the 2019 Sun Belt Championship (May 25, 2019).

Junior outfielder Lorenzo Morello got the ninth-inning rally going with a one-out single. After Makenzie Pate was hit in the helmet by a pitch, lead-off hitter Nick Lucky came through with an RBI single to put the Chants down 7-4.

CCU’s next batter Eric Brown worked a walk to load the bases to set the table for Chavers.

Chavers was 1-for-4 with a grand slam, a walk, and four RBIs, while designated hitter Alex Gattinelli was 2-for-3 with a home run, a walk, and two RBIs. Morello was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored while Lucky (1-for-4, BB, RBI, 2 runs), BT Riopelle (1-for-3), Cooper Weiss (1-for-4, 2B, run), Tyler Johnson (1-for-2), and Pate (1-for-3, run) all had one hit each in the win.

Six different players Blue Devils had one hit each at the plate led by a solo home run from Rj Schreck (1-for-3, HR, BB, 2 runs) and RBIs from both Chase Creek (1-for-4, RBI) and Will Hoyle (1-for-3, SF, RBI).

The win would go to Alaska Abney (1-0), as the junior righty pitched the ninth, allowing one unearned run on one hit while striking out two hitters.

The loss fell to Duke’s Marcus Johnson (0-1), who gave up the grand slam, allowing one earned run on one hit.

Duke jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning on a solo home run to right field by Schreck only to see the Chanticleers get a solo home run from Gattinelli and an RBI single from Morello three batters later in the bottom half of the inning to push the home team in front 2-1 after two innings of play.

The Blue Devils would retake the lead in the next half inning, as the visitors in black took advantage of a lead-off single, two walks, and a Coastal fielding error to plate two runs and take a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the third.

The back-and-forth scoring continued in the bottom half of the third, as Gattinelli hit a two-out RBI single up the middle to score Lucky from second to tie the game up at 3-3 through three innings.

The next five innings saw the pitching staffs take over, as the Chants’ duo of Nick Parker (5.0 IP, 2 hits, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K) and Reid VanScoter (3.0 IP, 3 hits, 3 R, 2 ER, BB, K) allowed just one hit and only three runner reach base over the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth innings.

However, Duke broke the tie in the top of the ninth inning with four runs on three hits and one throwing error to take a 7-3 lead over the Chants.

Coastal stranded six runners on base and committed three errors in the field.

Game 2: Duke 10, Coastal 9

Coastal saw an early lead disappear but battled back to put the game-winning run on base in the bottom of the ninth before the Blue Devils closed the door to hang on for the 10-9 win in game two of the twin bill.

The Chants plated nine runs on seven hits, eight walks, and four hit batsmen, yet couldn’t overcome nine walks and four errors in the loss.

Chavers led the Chants at the plate in game two, going 3-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored, while Gattinelli (1-for-3, 2B, 2 BB, 2 RBIs, 2 runs) and Tanner Garrison (0-for-3, BB, HBP, 2 RBIs) drove in two RBIs each.

The Blue Devils were led offensively by Erikson Nichols six RBIs, as he was 2-for-4 with a home run and a double, and shortstop Ethan Murray who was 3-for-4 with a triple, double, and two RBIs.

The loss fell to veteran reliever Shaddon Peavyhouse (0-1) as he struck out five over his first 2.1 innings of work out of the bullpen but committed two errors of his own that led to two runs for the Blue Devils in the eighth.

Duke’s fifth pitcher on the nightcap Nick Conte (1-0) earned his first collegiate win, as he allowed one unearned run over 1.2 innings. The save went to Josh Allen (1) who got the final three outs of the game in the win.

With momentum on their side, the Chants ran out to a 5-0 lead to start game two of the twin bill with a five-run first inning.

Lucky started the bottom half of the first inning with a single up the middle and then advanced to second on a walk to Brown.

Chavers then singled to center field to plate Lucky and put the Chants on the scoreboard first at 1-0.

Following a walk to Gattinelli to load the bases, a wild pitch allowed Brown to score from third base to double the Chants’ lead at 2-0.

The next three runs in the frame came from a Riopelle ground out, an RBI-double by Weiss, and another RBI ground out from Garrison to put the home team in front 5-0 after just one inning of play.

However, the next eight runs would come from the visiting Blue Devils, as Duke got a three-run home run from Nichols and an RBI triple by Murray to score four runs in the top of the second and cut the Coastal lead to one at 5-4.

Nichols added a two-run double to left field in the third inning and a sacrifice fly in the fifth, before Murray singled to left field to score one more run in the fifth to put the Blue Devils on top 8-5 midway through the fifth inning.

The Chants’ bullpen slowed down the Duke offense over the next two innings, highlighted by 2.1-hitless innings and five strikeouts by Peavyhouse to keep the score at 8-5.

The bats broke through for the Chants in the bottom of the seventh, as Gattinelli doubled to left-center field to score Brown and Chavers to cut the Duke lead to one at 8-7.

After a Duke pitching change, the Chanticleers got a single off the bat of Riopelle and a hit-by-pitch by Weiss to load the bases. Two batters later, Garrison took a pitch off the helmet to force Gattinelli in from third to tie the game up at 8-8 with two innings left to play.

However, Duke got to Peavyhouse in the eighth, as a lead-off double by Peter Matt and back-to-back throwing errors by the Chant pitcher allowed the visitors to plate two more runs and pull back out in front by two at 10-8.

Refusing to quit, the Chanticleers loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth without even putting a ball in play, as Gattinelli walked, Riopelle was hit by a pitch, and Weiss got a base-on-balls.

A passed ball allowed pinch-runner Billy Underwood to score from third base to put the Chants within one at 10-9 with the game-winning run on second.

A bunt attempt by pinch-hitter Dale Thomas was just too hard back to Allen on the mound who fielded the ball cleanly and went home with the throw to barely get a diving Makenzie Pate at the plate for out number one in the inning.

With the game-tying and winning runs on first and second, the next two runners went down on strikes as the Blue Devils escaped with the one-run win.

The two teams combined to leave 22 runners on base, 13 for Duke and nine for the Chants.

The Chants (1-2) will hit the road for their first road game of the season on Tuesday, Feb. 23, at No. 17 Wake Forest (2-1). The game is set for a 4 p.m. ET start and will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra.