No. 26 Coastal Out-Slugged, 19-9, at No. 20 Wake Forest
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Coastal Carolina raced out to a 5-0 advantage and was up 7-5 after the top of the sixth inning but a 10-run bottom of the sixth by #20 Wake Forest led the Demon Deacons to 19-9 slugfest over the 26th-ranked Chanticleers Tuesday night at Couch Ballpark.
Coastal scored in six of its nine innings but could not offset six walks, four hit batters and four home runs. Stuart Fairchild hit two of those, including a three-run homer and a grand slam. Johnny Aiello sealed CCU's fate with a three-run home run in the eighth.
North Carolina native Cory Wood gave Coastal a 3-0 lead in the third inning with a three-run home run, scoring Seth Lancaster and Billy Cooke. The last time Wood visited his home state (Mar. 28), he also hit a three-run home run at the University of North Carolina.
In the fourth inning, the Chanticleers pushed their lead to 5-0. With bases loaded, Lancaster reached on a fielder's choice, scoring Peyton Isaacson. Matt Beaird followed with a safety squeeze bunt to bring home Wood Myers.
Wake Forest got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth. Ben Breazeale was hit by a pitch and moved to third on a Logan Harvey single. Bruce Steel brought the pair home with a double down the left field line.
Coastal got one of those runs back in the fifth, which proved key as the Demon Deacons put three on the board in the bottom half to make the score 6-5.
For the Chants in the fifth, Jordan Gore hit a leadoff double and, after a walk to Kevin Woodall Jr., Isaacson laid down a sacrifice bunt before Myers plated Gore with an RBI ground out. In the home half, Jonathan Pryor had a leadoff single and Jake Mueller walked. Stuart Fairchild cleared the bases and cut his team's deficit to one with a three-run shot to right field.
The Chanticleers responded with a tally in the top of the sixth. Lancaster walked, stole second and moved to third on the play thanks to a wild pitch. Cooke, who leads the team in sacrifice flies, added to his total as his fly out to right field was deep enough to score Lancaster.
Wake put the game out of reach by sending 14 men to the plate and scoring 10 runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a 15-7 lead. Fairchild, who hit a 3-run HR earlier, provided the big hit with a grand slam to put the Deacons up 10-7. Gavin Sheets made it back-to-back home runs with a solo line drive down the right field line. The Deacons added four more runs for the eight-run lead. It is believed this was the first time (and perhaps one of just two times) Coastal has allowed doubles digit runs in an inning as CCU surrendered 12 in the fifth inning to then #1 Clemson on Mar. 26, 2002 in a 19-1 loss.
However, Coastal did not give in as Gore hit the first pitch of the seventh over the left field wall to make the score 15-8. Then in the eighth and with bases loaded, Woodall walked to force home Kyle Skeels, who hit a double earlier in the inning. Woodall drew three walks Tuesday and had walked seven times in his last two games.
Wake Forest capped it scoring with four runs in the eighth. Mueller was hit by a pitch and scored after consecutive singles by Fairchild and Sheets. Johnny Aiello then hit the Deacons' fourth home run of the game -- third of at least the three-run variety -- for a 19-9 lead.
Coastal Carolina, a half game out of first place in the Sun Belt East Division, will stay on the road to face division leader South Alabama this Thursday, Friday and Saturday.