Coastal’s season comes to close with loss to Clemson

Coastal Carolina led twice early but could not overcome two home runs by Clemson’s Jason Stolz as the Tigers (35-27) handed the Chanticleers (42-19) a 5-3 loss Sunday afternoon in the third-place game of the NCAA Columbia Regional, played at Carolina Stadium.

Coastal Carolina wraps up yet another successful season, winning its sixth straight Big South regular season title, its sixth straight Big South Tournament title, winning 40 games for the sixth consecutive season and reaching an NCAA Regional for the sixth consecutive season.

The Chanticleers used a tried and true method to take an early lead. Ted Blackman worked the count full and drew a leadoff walk. Jacob May followed with a hit-and-run single, putting runners on the corners. Daniel Bowman, for the second day in the row, gave CCU a 1-0 lead in the first with a sacrifice fly.

The Tigers tied the game in the third as the inning’s first batter, Stolz, hit a 3-2 pitch over the left-center field fence for his sixth home run of the season. The Chants avoided more trouble as Thomas Brittle reached on a single and stole second. However, he was picked off second and, during a run-down, was called out for running outside of the base path.

Coastal got that run back in the home half of the third, going up 2-1. With one out, Blackman launched a ball over the right field wall for his first career round tripper.

Clemson tied the game at 2-2 and added two more in the fourth. Jay Baum drew a leadoff walk and took second on a ground out. Brad Felder lined an RBI double off the right-center field fence to bring home Baum. Then, for the second time, Stolz hit a home run, this time a two-run shot.

In the fifth, Coastal trimmed its deficit to one, 4-3. Brian Pruett blooped a single to right-center and took second on the play due to an error. Blackman walked and May hit a ground ball for an apparent double play. However, after getting one out, the throw to first was wild, allowing Pruett to score.

Clemson added an insurance run in the ninth to provide the eventual 5-3 final. With two outs, Brittle and Richie Shaffer walked, setting the stage for Phil Pohl’s RBI single.

Dominic Leone (7-4) garnered the win. He allowed six hits and three runs (two earned) with four walks and six strikeouts in seven innings. Scott First worked the final two innings to get his third save of the year. He allowed one hit and one walk with three strikeouts. Coastal’s Ben Smith (2-2) suffered the loss. He gave up six hits and four runs over 4.1 innings with two walks and five punch outs. Ryan Connolly kept Coastal in the game over the middle to late innings, scattering five hits over 4.1 innings. He did allow one run, his first over his last 20 innings pitched, with four walks and three strikeouts.

Daniel Bowman, who batted .401 in his final season, had 95 hits in 201, ranking fourth on the CCU single-season list. Bowman, the 2012 Big South Player of the Year, is the first player in Big South history to amass 200 runs, 200 RBI and 300 hits. He closes his career with six CCU records and two Big South records. The Bridgewater, Va., native set conference (and school) marks in at bats (963) and total bases (526), while ending his career ranking 3rd in league history in games played, fifth in runs scored, second in hits (missing the record by one), 16th in doubles, 9th in triples, 4th in home runs and third in RBI.

On the CCU career lists, Bowman set the standards for games played (246), games started (244), at bats (963), hits (309), RBI (206) and total bases (526), while ranking third in runs scored (215), third in doubles (55), second in triples (12, one shy of the CCU record) and third in home runs (46).

Rich Witten led the Big South and ranked among the NCAA top 20 with 66 RBI, which additionally ranks 10th on the CCU single-season list. The Danville, Ky., native and first team All-Big South pick ends his career with 200 games played (13th-tied on the CCU all-time list). He additionally ranks seventh on the school’s career doubles list (5) and sixth on the school’s career RBI list with 158.

Tucker Frawley ends his career being one of 12 semifinalists for the Johnny Bench Award, while earning the 2012 Big South Baseball Scholar-Athlete of the Year and first team Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America. The Lexington, S.C., native had a career year in 2012, batting .296. Of his 108 career hits, 60 came this season, as did 27 of his 54 career RBI.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

 

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