Chants finish off Wolfpack, face LSU in Super Regional

ccubase-pileCoastal Carolina (47-16) scored four runs in the top of the ninth, thanks to a two-run single by Seth Lancaster, and All-American Mike Morrison worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth to lead the Chanticleers to their third NCAA Super Regional by defeating North Carolina State (38-22)  7-5 in the second NCAA Raleigh Regional Championship game.

Coastal will face LSU, the Baton Rouge Regional champion, in a best-of-three Super Regional beginning Saturday.

NC State had beaten Coastal, 8-1, in the first championship game Monday afternoon. The teams turned around later to play a second championship game Monday evening, a contest that was suspended in the ninth and continued Tuesday afternoon.

The second game started an hour-and-20 minutes late Monday (7:40 pm) due to rain, endured a 39-minute rain delay in the top of the fifth inning and was suspended at 12:05 am in the top of the ninth until 2 pm Tuesday. When play was suspended, Coastal had the bases loaded, one out and G.K. Young coming to bat. The game resumed at 2:02 pm Tuesday for a delay of 13 hours and 57 minutes.

Young ground out to first base, but drove in Anthony Marks to cut the CCU deficit to one, 5-4. Senior Tyler Chadwick, who was battling an injury, came off the bench to pinch hit and would re-load the bases with two outs after he was hit by a pitch. Lancaster, who has been one of Coastal’s hottest hitters over the last month, came through once again with an RBI single that fell just in front of NC State right fielder Brock Deatherage to plate Michael Paez and Zach Remillard to give the Chants a 6-5 lead. Billy Cooke followed with a single to right field to bring home Chadwick to provide 7-5 final score.

Morrison earned his 10th save of the season. The senior had picked up his ninth in CCU’s first win over the Wolfpack. In that win, he retired all 11 batters he faced, including three strikeouts. In the championship, he got a pair of ground outs and a fly out to center field to secure the win.

Coastal got off to a quick start as Marks hit the second pitch of the game through the left side of the infield for a single. Paez followed with a two-run home run down the right field line for a 2-0 lead. Paez now has 15 home runs, which ranks second in the nation among shortstops.  (Greg Kaiser of IPFW has 17 to lead the nation among shortstops.)

The Chants loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the second but could not capitalize. NC State rode that momentum to trim its deficit to one, 2-1, in the home half as Joe Dunand had a leadoff single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on an Andrew Knizner single.

Coastal got that run back in the top of the fourth. Lancaster singled to right and an error on the play allowed the sophomore to take second. Cooke followed with his second bunt single of the game to move Lancaster to third. Matt Beaird gave CCU a 3-1 lead with an RBI ground out.

The Wolfpack made it a one-run game once again, 3-2, in the bottom of the fourth. With two outs, Chance Shepard and Josh McLain had back-to-back doubles. A wild pitch and walk put runners on the corners and CCU turned to Bobby Holmes out of the bullpen. The sophomore promptly induced an inning-ending ground out to limit the damage.

NC State took advantage of a CCU error to score two unearned runs and take a 4-3 lead in the sixth.  Brett Kinneman hit a leadoff double, Chance Shepard walked and Josh McLain reached on an error to load the bases. Holmes got a ground ball and CCU retired Kinneman at the plate, keeping the bases loaded. Holmes got a second ground ball, but CCU could not complete the double play and Shepard scored. Preston Palmeiro then delivered an RBI single to give the ‘Pack their first lead of the game.

The Wolfpack tacked on a run in the eighth to lead 5-3. McLain was hit by a pitch, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a Mendoza RBI single to center.

In the top of the ninth, Marks and Paez each walked and moved up 90 feet on a Connor Owings sac bunt. Zach Remillard reached on an infield single to load the bases prior to the game being suspended.

All-American Andrew Beckwith, who earned his second win of the regional, improved to 12-1. He started the opener versus St. Mary’s and got the win. In the second title game, he worked two innings in relief, all coming prior to the suspension. He allowed three hits and one run with a walk and a strikeout.

For his efforts in leading CCU to the Regional title, Zach Remillard was named Most Outstanding Player, while Mike Morrison, Seth Lancaster and Billy Cooke joined Remillard on the All-Raleigh Regional Team.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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