CONWAY – Seth Lancaster accounted for Coastal Carolina’s first four runs and Kieton Rivers added a solo home run in the eighth inning to lead the 19th-ranked Chanticleers to a 5-2 victory over #3 North Carolina Wednesday night at Springs Brooks Stadium.
With the win, Coastal improves to 33-16 and CCU has won four of the last six meetings versus the Tar Heels (33-14) dating back to 2014.
Lancaster, who ranks fourth in the NCAA in both runs scored and walks, added to both totals as he was 2-for-3 with a two-run home run, a total of three runs scored, a walk and two stolen bases. Lee Sponseller was 3-for-4 with two doubles, driving in Lancaster twice.
Anthony Veneziano (5-0) picked up the win as he started and pitched four scoreless innings. He allowed two hits and one walk while striking out five. Patrick Orlando and Davie Inman each struck out two over their combined 2.1 innings before Jay Causey worked the last 2.2 innings to pick up his second save of the season. Causey did not allow a hit nor a run while walking two and striking out three, including each of the last two batters looking.
Cory Wood started the bottom of the first inning with a four-pitch walk. Lancaster, who was down 0-2 to start his at bat, took three balls before crushing his 13th home run of the season to give the Chants an early 2-0 lead.
Coastal pushed its lead to 3-0 in the third. Lancaster drew a leadoff walk and, after stealing second, scored on Sponseller’s second double of the game.
The Lancaster-Sponseller combination worked again in the fifth to put the Chanticleers up 4-0. Lancaster hit a one-out single. He would steal his second base of the game and took third on the play thanks to a UNC throwing error. Three batters later, Sponseller lined a two-out single back up the middle to bring home Lancaster.
North Carolina got on the scoreboard in the sixth and cut its deficit in half, 4-2. Brandon Riley had a one-out single and Ike Freeman followed with a home run to left field.
Rivers added a key insurance run in the bottom of the eighth with his fourth home run of the season to provide the 5-2 final.
UNC starter Taylor Sugg (2-1) took the loss after allowing two hits, three runs and three walks in 2.1 innings.
Coastal Carolina, leader of the Sun Belt East Division, will stay home to host Sun Belt West Division leader Little Rock this weekend. Remember, the time for Friday’s opener has been moved to 2 pm. With this series being CCU’s final home stand, Coastal will honor its seniors Saturday prior to the game, also set for 2 pm. The series will conclude Sunday at Noon.