Coastal upsets defending national champion Virginia

ccubase-Andrew Beckwith vs UVaSophomore Billy Cooke’s RBI single in the bottom of the eighth combined with a stellar pitching performance by Andrew Beckwith in relief lifted #21 Coastal Carolina (2-1) to a 5-4 win over #4 and defending national champion Virginia (2-1) Sunday afternoon in the final game of the 8th Annual Caravelle Resort Tournament.

In addition to a national ESPN3 broadcast, a crowd of 3,136 filled Springs Brooks Stadium to mark the largest on-campus attended baseball game in CCU history. Coastal snapped a three-game losing streak to Virginia, improves to 5-4 all-time versus the Cavaliers and claim its first victory over a top-5 program since sweeping then #4 UC Irvine in a doubleheader on Feb. 27, 2010.

Beckwith (1-0), who entered the game with two out in the fifth, pitched the final 4.1 innings. He scattered five hits while allowing no runs and no walks with three strikeouts. Virginia mounted a rally in the ninth with a pair of singles, but Beckwith induced a double-play to end the contest.

In the decisive eighth inning for Coastal, Connor Owings and pinch hitter Peyton Isaacson each drew one-out walks. While Owings was later thrown out trying to advance on a wild pitch, pinch runner Dalton Ewing was able to advance to second on the play. Cooke lined a single past the Cavalier third baseman and Ewing scored the winning run.

The Chanticleer offense was also bolstered by a two-run home run by G.K. Young in the first inning and a two-run single by Michael Paez in the seventh.

Virginia got on the scoreboard first. Leadoff batter Adam Haseley drew a walk and advanced to second on a Ernie Clement sacrifice bunt. Matt Thaiss followed with an RBI single.

Coastal responded in the home half of the first. Leadoff batter, Anthony Marks, walked and, two batters later, Young hit a two-run home run into the CCU bullpen in left field.

After three innings of scoreless baseball, the Cavaliers broke through with three runs in the top of the fifth to take a 4-2 lead. Andy Weber reached on a one-out single and Haseley followed with a two-run home run to left center field. Clement singled and Thaiss walked. The pair moved up 90 feet on a ground out and Clement later scored when Daniel Pinero reached on an error.

Coastal knotted the game at 4-4 with two runs in the bottom of the seventh. Tyler Chadwick and Billy Cooke walked to start the home half. Cameron Pearcey came on to pinch run for Chadwick and pinch hitter David Parrett moved Pearcey and Cooke to third and second, respectively, with a sacrifice bunt. Marks drew a two-out walk to load the bases. Paez looped a single to left field to bring home Pearcey and Cooke to tie the contest and set the stage for the dramatic eighth inning.

Alec Bettinger (-01) was saddled with the loss, allowing one hit, one run and two walks.

The Cavaliers out-hit Coastal 12-6, but stranded eight and CCU turned three double plays. Virginia’s offense was led by Clement (3-for-4), Thaiss (2-for-4), Jake McCarthy (2-for-4) and Weber (2-for-4).

Coastal Carolina will return to action Tuesday with a game at region rival UNC Wilmington. First pitch is set for 4 pm. The Chants will return to Springs Brooks Stadium next weekend (Feb. 26-29) to host the 17th Annual Caravelle Resort’s Baseball at the Beach. The field features Marshall, Liberty, Duke and Ohio State.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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