Baseball Bests UNC Wilmington 8-4 for 14th-Straight Win
April 21, 2010
WILMINGTON, N.C. - The seventh-ranked Coastal Carolina University baseball team (33-5) won its 14th-straight contest, defeating UNC Wilmington (22-16) 8-4 April 21 in Wilmington, N.C. Coastal had three home runs on the night, including two from senior Jose Iglesias and a grand slam by redshirt-senior Chance Gilmore.
Iglesias hit the first pitch he saw over the wall in left field in the top of the first, giving the Chants an early 1-0 lead. Coastal then used four straight hits to take a 5-0 lead in the second. Senior Adam Rice and sophomore Daniel Bowman recorded back-to-back hits to lead off the inning. Sophomore Steve Davis then executed a perfect bunt single to third to load the bases. Gilmore unloaded them with an opposite-field grand slam to left center. It was Gilmore's eighth home run and second grand slam of the season.
Coastal Carolina starter Jim Birmingham got out of a bases-loaded jam in the third. He retired the first two Seahawks, but walked Michael Rooney and gave up a single to Alex Hill. Grayson Evans then hit a grounder up the middle. Redshirt-sophomore Tommy La Stella made a great diving play to stop the ball in the infield and save a run, but the single would load the bases. Birmingham got out of the jam as he struck out Cody Stanley to end the inning.
UNC Wilmington broke the shutout in the fourth. Birmingham again retired the first two batters, but gave up singles to Hunter Ridge and Michael Bass. Cam Cockman's grounder to second looked to end the frame, but the ball took a wicked hop past La Stella, allowing Ridge to score and cutting the Chant lead to 5-1.
The Seahawks scored a run in the fifth, but it could have been more, as UNCW had the bases loaded with no one out. Robbie Monday and Mike Holt singled to lead off the inning. Birmingham walked Ridge to load the bases. Freshman Ryan Connolly came in and Bass flew out to right to score Monday. Cockman then popped up a bunt to Rice, who tossed to La Stella to double off Ridge at first to end the inning.
Iglesias hit his second home run of the game and ninth of the season with a two-run shot to the gap in left field in the seventh. UNC Wilmington would answer with a run in the home half of the seventh. Rooney reached on a bunt single to start the inning. He moved to second on a Hill single and would score on a Stanley double, UNCW's first extra-base hit of the game. Junior Matt Laney would strike out Monday and Holt to end the Seahawk threat.
The Chanticleers made it 8-3 in the top of the eighth as Davis doubled and Gilmore singled him home. Davis' double put him just a home run away from the cycle. UNC Wilmington added a run in the ninth as Rooney reached on an error, stole second, moved to third on a flyout from Evans and scored on a single off the first-base bag by Stanley. Junior Matt Rein struck out Monday to end the game.
Davis had three hits, while Iglesias and Gilmore added two apiece for the Chants. Gilmore drove in five runs, while Iglesias had three RBI's. For UNCW, Hill, Stanley and Monday had two hits apiece.
Birmingham allowed eight hits and two runs with three strikeouts in five-plus innings to pick up his sixth win of the season. The bullpen of Connolly, Laney, freshman Josh Conway and Rein struck out five in four innings of work. The loss was tagged to Daniel Cropper, who gave up five runs and five hits in two innings of work.
Coastal is now tied with Georgia Tech for the most wins in a season with 33.
Coastal Carolina will open a three-game Big South series at VMI Friday, April 23. First pitch is at 6 p.m., at Gray-Minor Stadium.