A day after having its nine-game winning streak snapped and being stifled to just four hits, all was back to normal for the Coastal Carolina baseball team Sunday.
Normal being the highly impressive level of play the Chanticleers have shown for the last month, that is.
The No. 25-ranked Chants bounced back by matching their highest scoring output of the season in a 17-5 win over High Point at Springs Brooks Stadium.
Michael Paez and Connor Owings hit their 10th home runs of the season to tie G.K. Young for the team lead and Kevin Woodall Jr. hit his second of the season as the Chants (30-11, 12-2 Big South) won for the 17th time in their last 19 games.
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“They’re a very good team and they came in here and popped us in the chops real good yesterday, and it was all about trying to respond back today and look at it as if we’re in a conference tournament or a regional or something where another loss sends you home,” coach Gary Gilmore said. “We wanted to at least come out and get after it.”
That, they did.
Paez was 3-for-5 with three runs scored and two RBIs, Owings was 2-for-3 with two runs and three RBIs, Tyler Chadwick was 2-for-3 with three RBIs, Zach Remillard was 2-for-4 with three runs and two RBIs and Anthony Marks was 2-for-3 with three runs as the Chants totaled 13 hits.
“It was like a wake-up call,” Paez said of the loss Saturday. “It was like, we’re winning every game, we’re having good at-bats, the pitching’s going well and then, like coach said earlier, [we got] punched in the face. We haven’t had that in a while, so it was good to feel that going down the stretch because it’s going to happen; it’s how we’re going to bounce back. Especially in regionals, supers, whatever happens, we’re going to get punched and we have to find a way to [bounce] back.”
High Point (26-14, 9-5) took the first lead with a run in the top of the first inning, but the Chants quickly asserted control.
Marks led off the bottom of the first with a single down the line and Paez followed with a two-run homer to give the hosts a 2-1 lead.
“I was trying to bunt him over, but coach gave me the green light, I got a good pitch to hit and from there on everybody started hitting,” Paez said. “Our whole team, everybody was locked in from the start. We have a motto – beat us once, not twice – so we’re going to try keeping that going [Monday].”
The Chants scored four runs in the second on a run-scoring wild pitch, an RBI double by Remillard and a two-run bloop single to left by Chadwick to make it 6-1.
And in the third, Marks and Paez hit back-to-back one-out singles and Young walked to load the bases for Remillard, who laced an RBI single through the left side. An error by the left fielder allowed another run to score on the play, but it wouldn’t have mattered as Owings welcomed reliever Cooper Jeffers into the game by smacking a three-run homer to center for an 11-1 lead.
And it just kept growing from there.
They’re a very good team and they came in here and popped us in the chops real good yesterday, and it was all about trying to respond back today and look at it as if we’re in a conference tournament or a regional or something where another loss sends you home.
CCU baseball coach Gary Gilmore
Andre Scrubb (6-4) took the loss for the Panthers, giving up 10 runs on seven hits and eight walks over 2 1/3 innings.
Bobby Holmes (4-1) earned the win, giving up six hits, two walks and five runs in six innings with four strikeouts. He had only allowed two runs through six frames before running into trouble in the seventh.
It didn’t matter, though. Not on this day.
Gilmore said he didn’t have to do much to get the guys fired up after that loss in the series opener.
“They knew it, I didn’t have to say a whole lot to them. They knew we allowed them to come in here and kind of jump on us a little bit,” he said. “And again, [Saturday’s] game was a 0-0 game through six innings. It’s not like we did a lot of terrible things. We really desperately needed to focus and grind out at-bats and compete, and I think you saw an edge to us today that, was it there yesterday? I don’t know, but it wasn’t enough to combat the quality of pitching we faced yesterday.”
Gilmore said Tyler Poole (4-2, 2.93 ERA), who usually starts the third game of a weekend series, is out indefinitely due to a back injury that could worsen if not given rest. The coaches are hopeful the senior right-hander will be able to return at some point, but that is not known yet.
Gilmore is still considering his options for who will take the mound Monday in the finale with High Point.
“I’ll probably sleep on it tonight,” he said. “We’ve got two or three options so we’ll see which way we decide to go.”
Who: High Point at No. 25 Coastal Carolina
When: 4 p.m.
Where: Springs Brooks Stadium, Conway
Radio: WSEA-FM 100.3