Conway, S.C. – No. 10 Coastal Carolina’s Kieton Rivers hit two home runs and drove in five RBIs while starting pitcher Anthony Veneziano matched his career-high nine strikeouts over 7.0-complete innings to lead the Chanticleers to a 9-2 home win over the UNCW Seahawks on Wednesday night at Springs Brooks Stadium.
With the win, the Chants picked up the three-game regular-season series win two games to one over UNCW and snapped a two-game losing streak in the process.
The win is also career victory number 1,999 for head coach Gary Gilmore.
Rivers (2-for-3, 2 HR, 5 RBIs, 3 runs) provided the offense on the night driving in five of the Chants’ nine runs in the game on two home runs, the first multi-home run game of his career, while the five RBIs tied his career-high.
Catcher Kyle Skeels (1-for-2, HBP, RBI) drove in one RBI, while first baseman Zach Biermann (1-for-2, HBP, BB, 3 runs) scored three runs in the win. Three other runs were scored on a wild pitch and a UNCW fielding error.
Veneziano (3-0) was dominant on the mound, as the tall lefty matched his career-high with nine strikeouts in 7.0-complete innings. He picked up his first quality start of the season, as he gave up just two runs, one of which was earned, on three hits and one walk.
Combined with Davie Inman (1.1 IP, 2 K) and Kiernan Higgins (0.2 IP), who made his Chant debut, the pitching staff struck out 11 UNCW hitters, the 13th time this season that the CCU arms have posted double-digit strikeouts for the game.
UNCW had just three hits on the night, highlighted by Kep Brown’s (1-for-3, HR, RBI) solo home run in the fifth.
The loss went to Zarion Sharpe (0-1), as the lefty was roughed up for six runs on four hits, one walk and five strikeouts in 3.0 innings on the mound.
Unlike in their previous two meetings this season, the Seahawks got on the scoreboard first on Wednesday night as speedster Greg Jones reached base safely on a CCU throwing error to start the second inning.
After a stolen base and a fly ball to center moved Jones up to third, a wild pitch that sailed out of the reach of the catcher allowed Jones to score from third and put the visitors in front 1-0.
The Chants got the run back and then some in the bottom half of the inning, as Rivers belted a two-run home run over the left-field fence and into the CCU bullpen to give the home team a 2-1 lead after two innings of play.
One inning later the Chants posted yet another big inning, their 17th of the season, asCameron Pearcey and Jake Wright picked up back-to-back one-out singles then quickly advanced 90 feet on a passed ball. One pitch later, the UNCW starter threw a wild pitch past the catcher to score Pearcey from third and give Coastal a 3-1 lead.
Two batters later, after a Biermann walk, Rivers blasted his second home run of the game, this time an opposite-field three-run shot to right field to extend the Chants lead to five at 6-1 in the third.
Following a UNCW solo home run from Brown in the top of the fifth, the Chants took advantage of a Seahawks’ fielding error to score three unearned runs, the last one on an RBI single up the middle from Skeels, to push the Chants’ lead to seven at 9-2.
The two bullpens would take control over the final three innings of the contest to keep the score at 9-2 at the game’s end.
Coastal stranded six runners for the contest, while UNCW left four on base.
Coastal (19-6-1, 5-1 Sun Belt) will play host to the West Division-leader Arkansas State Red Wolves (17-8, 5-1 Sun Belt) this weekend in Sun Belt Conference play.