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  • Morgen S. Cvetko

CCU Baseball wins back-to-back Sun Belt Championships

Kieton Rivers blasts a home run during the championship game.

No. 5 Coastal Carolina University hosted the No. 1 seed Georgia Southern Eagles on Sunday, May 26, 2019, at Springs Brooks Stadium in the Sun Belt Tournament Championship game and came out on top after a slow start, winning 9-7 for the second championship in as many years.

The Eagles took the lead in the first inning and ran away with it in bottom of the second, and the score was 0-6 as the Chants headed into the third inning. Pitcher Zach McCambley, coming in to relieve Anthony Veneziano, shut down the Eagles in the bottom of the third with three consecutive strike outs.

In the top of the fourth, Coastal was able to bring in three runs. In the bottom of the fourth, pitcher Alaska Abney was brought in to relieve McCambley and ended the inning, allowing Georgia Southern to score one run, bringing the score to 3-7.

Kieton Rivers slammed his fifth homerun of the tournament at the top of the fifth, making the score 4-7.

With three quick outs in the bottom of the fifth, Coastal was up to bat again. In the top of the sixth inning, Cameron Pearcey was walked and Cory Wood was hit by pitch, then saw an opportunity and successfully carried out a double steal putting Pearcey in scoring position on third.

Rivers, up to bat for the fourth time, hit his sixth home run of the tournament, sending in Pearcey and Wood and tying the game up. Jake Wright also scored a run in the sixth, putting Coastal in the lead 8-7.

Shortstop Scott McKeon hit a solo home run in the top of seven, putting Coastal at 9-7. Coastal would not go onto to score again before the end of the game. Scott Kobos came in as relief in the bottom of six and only allowed for three hits and no runs from the sixth inning to the bottom of the ninth. Third baseman, Nick Lucky ended the game by catching the final pop-up fly ball.

With that, Coastal Carolina University baseball became the 2019 Sun Belt Champions and earned an automatic bid into the NCAA Regionals.

In the midst of all the excitement, Kobos was injured when a sign that had been thrown in the air during the celebration came down and hit him in the face. Kobos is said to be okay.

This is the second conference title that Coastal has won since joining the Sun Belt back in 2017 and its 16th overall conference win.

Rivers won Most Outstanding Player for the tournament as selected by the coaching staff from all the teams. Rivers had a total of six home runs during the tournament, making his total home runs for the season 13.

As if Coastal hasn’t already crushed enough records in this Sun Belt Tournament, they also broke the record for most runs scored throughout the tournament with 80, breaking FIU’s 2010 record of 61 runs.

NCAA announced at noon Monday the regional brackets. CCU (No. 3 seed) will play in the Atlanta Regional starting with No. 2 seed Auburn at noon Friday at Georgia Tech. The other two teams in the Atlanta Regional are Georgia Tech and Florida A&M.

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