CCU’S Riopelle homers twice in Friday night loss to FIU

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(Photo Courtesy: Coastal Carolina Athletics)

CONWAY, S.C. – Coastal Carolina hit three home runs, two from catcher BT Riopelle and another one from shortstop Eric Brown, but it wasn’t enough as the Chanticleers dropped the series opener to FIU 8-6 on Friday night at Springs Brooks Stadium.

The loss drops CCU to 8-4 overall, while the win pushes FIU to 5-6 on the season.

Riopelle (3-for-4, 2 HR, BB, 2 RBIs, 2 runs) hit two home runs in the contest for the first time in his career and was the second Chant to do so in the last two games. Cooper Weiss (2-for-4, 2B, RBI) had two base hits, while fellow sophomore starter Brown (1-for-4, HR, HBP, 2 RBIs, run) drove in two RBIs with a two-run home run to extend his hitting streak to nine-straight games.

However, the Chants left nine runners on base in the loss.

The loss fell to starter Jacob Maton (2-2), as the right-handed hurler gave up five runs on five hits, three of which were home runs and one walk, while striking out five hitters in 4.0-plus innings.

FIU, who entered the game on a four-game losing streak, had four extra-base hits on the night as all nine hitters had a base hit in the win. First baseman Adrian Figueroa (2-for-3, HR, BB, RBI, 2runs) had two base hits, including a solo home run, while shortstop Steven Ondina (1-for-4, 3 RBIs) drove in three runs.

Starter Tyler Myrick (2-1) picked up the win for the Panthers, giving up five runs on seven hits, two walks, and five strikeouts over 5.0-plus innings of work, while Angel Tiburcio (1) recorded the save, pitching the final 2.0 innings in the win.

The Panthers pounced out to an early 2-0 lead with a pair of solo home runs in the top of the first by Alex Sanchez and Justin Farmer.

After FIU added to its lead with a solo home run from Figueroa in the top of the fourth and two more runs in the top of the fifth on a safety squeeze play and a two-out RBI single up the middle by Juan Teixeira, the Chants’ offense broke through with a two-run home run by Brown in the bottom half of the fifth to put the score at 5-2 with four innings to play.

However, the Panthers got the two runs back and then some in the top of the sixth with a bases-loaded ground out and another two-out single this time by Ondina to plate two and push the visitors lead back out to 8-2 heading into the bottom half of the sixth inning.

Riopelle quickly hit his first home run of the game to start the inning, while three batters later, after a walk to Tanner Garrison and a double by Tyler Johnson, Weiss singled up the middle to score Garrison and cut the FIU lead to four at 8-4.

Coastal’s Dale Thomas followed with a sacrifice fly to center field to score Johnson from third and put the home team within three at 8-5 heading into the seventh inning.

After reliever Luke Barrow pitched around two walks to get out of the top of the seventh, Riopelle hit his second home run of the game with a solo home run in the bottom half of the inning to put Coastal within two at 8-6.

The Chants loaded the bases in the top of the ninth inning, putting the winning run on first base with two outs. However, Tiburcio was able to get the Coastal hitter to strike out to help FIU escape with the 8-6 win.

Coastal (8-4) and Florida International (5-6) will play a doubleheader tomorrow. First pitch for game one is set for noon ET.

COURTESY: Coastal Carolina Athletics

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