CCU baseball knocks out Georgia State, 5-1

MONTGOMERY, ALA. – The No. 7 seeded Coastal Carolina Chanticleers knocked out No. 10 seed Georgia State 5-1 in the first round of the 2024 Guardian Credit Union Sun Belt Conference Baseball Championship presented by Troy University in Montgomery, Ala., on Tuesday afternoon.

CCU (34-21) was led by Dean Mihos (2-for-3, HR, 2R, 2RBI), Sam Antonacci (1-for-4, 2RBI), and Zack Beach (1-for-3, HR, 2R) at the plate in the win. Bryce Shaffer (3-5) worked 2.2 innings and allowed no runs on no hits with three strikeouts, while starter Riley Eikhoff worked 6.1 innings, giving up four hits and allowing one run while striking out eight Panther hitters.

Georgia State’s Maximus Martin (1-for-4), JoJo Jackson (1-for-4, HR, R, RBI), Matt Ruiz (1-for-4), and Brennan Hudson had the Panthers’ four hits. Starter Aidan McEvoy allowed no runs on just three hits with nine strikeouts in 6.0 innings, while Brian Garmon II (2-4) gave up one hit for two runs in two-thirds of an inning suffered the loss. Patrick Dunn and Brady Jones allowed the final three runs of the game.

GSU (25-32) opened the top of the first inning with Michael Maginnis reaching on a throwing error, but CCU’s Eikhoff struck out the side to erase the early miscue. The Panthers needed just 10 pitches to get back to the plate.

After a one-out single by Georgia State’s Hudson, Eikhoff settled down and recorded back-to-back strikeouts for his fifth strikeout in eight batters. Coastal’s Mihos bunted to move Blake Barthol to second and beat the throw to first that escaped down the right field line to allow Barthol to advance to third. The Chanticleers were unable to take advantage of the miscue to keep the score knotted at 0-0 after two innings of play.

In the top of the third, the Panthers’ Martin singled to third base and moved to second on a wild pitch before Eikhoff got a strikeout and enticed a groundout to short.

The fourth inning saw GSU’s Ruiz hit a slow roller to the pitcher before the defense turned a 1-6-4 double play to end the visitor’s half of the frame. Coastal’s Caden Bodine and Derek Bender singled to start the home half of the fourth but the Chants were unable to take advantage of the runner in scoring position.

The fifth and sixth innings were uneventful as both pitching staffs combined for four strikeouts.

In the top of the seventh, Georgia State took a 1-0 lead on Jackson’s solo home run down the left-field line. Coastal answered in the bottom half of the frame after back-to-back walks to Mihos and Beach put runners on first and second. Both runners advanced to second and third on a wild pitch before Antonacci drove in the eventual winning run with a single to left field to make the score 2-1.

After going three-up and three-down to start the eighth inning, the Panthers allowed a leadoff walk to Bender before Mihos hit his third home run of the season, a two-run shot to give the Chants a 4-1 lead. Beach followed with a solo blast for the final margin of 5-1.

Coastal Carolina will meet the No. 2 seed Southern Miss Eagles in Montgomery, Ala., for the second round of the 2024 Guardian Credit Union Sun Belt Conference Baseball Championship on Wednesday, May 22 with the first pitch scheduled for 1:30 p.m. ET.

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