Seahawks fall to Cougars on Mother’s Day

Brandon Sans, Contributing Writer

As far as sentimental holidays go, Sunday was doubly effective at Brooks Field as UNC Wilmington’s seniors looked to sweep the College of Charleston on Mother’s Day.

The Cougars were able to halt UNCW’s winning streak at six games, winning 8-5 in 10 innings and handing the Seahawks their first home loss in CAA play since 2014.

“Our guys wanted it for the seniors,” said head coach Mark Scalf. “Some of the guys wanted it too much. I told them they have to maintain the same approach instead of trying to be the hero.”

Behind the pitching of junior right-hander Cory Gantz, the Seahawks’ defense stranded five Charleston base runners in Gantz’s 4.2 innings of work. Allowing men on base from hit batters came back to haunt him, though.

A three-run homer, courtesy of Bradley Jones, put College of Charleston ahead in the top of the fifth. The Seahawks would rally behind Nick Feight and Nick Stuart, who helped them regain the lead over the next two frames.

Charleston came back to tie the game in the ninth following an error by closer Jared Gesell, who blew his second save in less than three weeks. The Cougars plated four runs, two unearned, off of Gesell.

“We had our opportunities,” said Scalf. “Unfortunately, we were unable to drive in that run in the ninth. Two missed bunts put ourselves in a position that we had to try to pitch ourselves out of.”

Spotty fielding in the tenth ultimately proved to be the difference in the game. Infield singles, errors, and free base runners all played a role in a Seahawk meltdown in the tenth.

Game Notes: Kennard McDowell, Daniel Stack, and Stuart all homered for the Seahawks … Feight’s nation-leading RBI count rose to 77 on Sunday … UNCW’s 19-game home winning streak was snapped with the loss … Jared Gesell’s season record fell to 1-3 with the blown save.

What’s next: UNCW (33-11, 13-3) will now look towards making up for a heartbreaking loss to North Carolina earlier this year. The Seahawks will host the Tar Heels on Wednesday at Brooks Field. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.