Coastal Carolina

CCU Notebook: National champions lose Friday, looking up in Sun Belt standings

Coastal’s Dalton Ewing slides to catch a pop fly down the right field line for an out against Troy on Friday night at Springs Brooks Stadium in Conway.
Coastal’s Dalton Ewing slides to catch a pop fly down the right field line for an out against Troy on Friday night at Springs Brooks Stadium in Conway.

The reigning national champions have some catching up to do in the Sun Belt Conference standings as they host Troy in a three-game weekend series at Spring Brooks Stadium that began with a loss Friday night.

By dropping two out of three games at home against Georgia Southern last weekend, the Coastal Carolina baseball team dropped out of first place in the Sun Belt’s East Division, falling a half game behind South Alabama. Friday’s 4-0 defeat will keep the Chants at least a half game out of first.

Overall in the Sun Belt Conference, the Chants (24-16-1, 11-7-1 in conference) entered the weekend series against the Trojans (24-7, 10-9) with the fourth-best record in the conference, also behind West Division programs Louisiana (13-4-1 in conference) and Texas-Arlington (13-5).

The Chanticleers were held to four hits over six innings by Troy starter Andrew Crane (4-1), and went hitless in three innings against reliever Cory Gill. The two pitchers struck out 13 while allowing just two walks. No Chant had more than one hit.

CCU senior ace Alex Cunningham (5-2) gave up four earned runs on six hits, including a two-run home run by Trevor Davis, and a walk while striking out six in seven innings and throwing 113 pitches.

The second game of the series is at 2 p.m. Saturday and the series concludes at 1 p.m. Sunday.

CCU has 12 games remaining following the Troy series. That includes five at home – a rescheduled game against UNC Wilmington on May 9 and game against College of Charleston on May 10, and three-game series vs. Appalachian State from May 18-20 to close out the regular season.

The Chants have been formidable at the plate this season, notwithstanding Friday’s shutout. Entering Friday, CCU was fourth in NCAA Division I baseball in sacrifice bunts with 48, 15th in home runs with 52 after leading the country in 2016, 17th in stolen bases with 68 and 18th in walks drawn with 213.

Women’s soccer releases schedule

The Coastal Carolina women’s soccer team has announced a 2017 schedule that includes 19 regular-season games, including 10 at home.

The Chanticleers, coached by Paul Hogan, begin their 18th year as a program at Wofford on Aug. 18, followed by matches at Charleston and N.C. State, a team that reached the NCAA Sweet 16 last season.

Coastal will play its home opener and first of four straight home games on Aug. 27 against Charleston Southern, followed by games against Winthrop, Davidson and Jacksonville.

The Chants have non-conference games at Georgia on Sept. 10 and at home against South Carolina State on Oct. 19, and conclude their Sun Belt Conference slate and regular season at Appalachian State (Oct. 22).

Once again, the Sun Belt Championship will be played in Foley, Ala., at the Foley Sports Complex from Nov. 1-5.

CCU lacrosse nearing conference title

The Coastal Carolina women’s lacrosse team held off Kennesaw State 14-11 Friday afternoon in Kennesaw, Ga., to inch closer to capturing the Atlantic Sun Conference regular season title by improving to 11-5 overall and 8-1 in conference play, while the Owls dropped to 7-9 and 3-6.

The conference’s reigning Defensive Player of the Week, Harley Barrett, made 10 saves on the day while giving up 11 goals.

Offensively, Sophie Crowther scored six goals to lead the way for the Chants, while Haley Alexander finished with a hat trick with three goals and three assists. Reigning Player of the Week Keri White finished with three points (two goals, one assist), and Courtney Genovese put two in for the Chanticleers.

Alan Blondin: 843-626-0284, @alanblondin