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Fifth Inning Proves Costly as Monarchs Drop Series Opener at No. 20 Coastal Carolina

Bob McCool/Coastal Carolina Athletics

CONWAY, S.C. – After four scoreless innings, No. 20 Coastal Carolina finally broke through with an eight-run bottom of the fifth as Old Dominion baseball dropped the Sun Belt series opener, 9-2 on Friday night at Springs Brooks Stadium.

The Chanticleers (21-8, 6-4 Sun Belt) threatened in the bottom of the third inning as Sam Antonacci drew a leadoff walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and took third on a Blake Barthol fly out to center field. ODU brought in John Holobetz, and the junior got out of the inning with a fly out to left. The Monarchs (15-14, 4-6) had a chance in the top of the fifth as Alex Bouche singled to center field and reached second on a fielding error, but the hosts retired the next three ODU batters.

CCU's offense finally clicked in the fifth, plating eight runs on six hits. With one out, Antonacci singled up the middle before Derek Bender and Barthol drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. Antonacci then tagged up on a Caden Bodine sacrifice fly to left, and Zack Beach followed with a three-run home run to right. Three more singles, a walk, and a two-RBI double by Antonacci pushed the Chants' lead to 8-0.

ODU got a run back in the sixth as Carter Sunderman dropped a bunt single and raced home on a Luke Waters double to left. The home team then responded by loading the bases again in the bottom of the frame and scratching across a run on a Jake Brooks ground out to first.

The Monarchs rounded out the scoring in the top of the seventh. Bouche walked and Hunter Cole was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. Later with two outs, Maverick Stallings pinch hit for Jake Ticer and came through with an RBI base hit to center field. Waters was plunked to start the top of the eighth, but a couple of strikeouts and a fielder's choice prevented the Monarchs from cutting into the deficit. ODU then went down in order in the ninth to end the game.

Holobetz (2-4) received the loss after allowing eight runs on seven hits and three walks. He recorded one strikeout in two innings in relief. Starter Jay Cassady tossed 2.2 scoreless frames, did not allow a hit, walked three and struck out four.

Stallings went 1-for-1 on the night, Sunderman finished 1-for-2, Waters doubled in a 1-for-3 outing, and Bouche also hit 1-for-3 with a base on balls.

Game Two in the series is scheduled for a 2 p.m. start on Saturday.