Walk-off homer keeps Lady Chants’ title defense alive

Morgan Noad hit two-run walk-off home run in the eighth inning to cap another Coastal Carolina comeback as the top-seeded Chanticleers posted a 6-4 victory over No. 5 Winthrop Saturday afternoon in the semifinal round of the Big South Tournament.

Coastal (37-21) won its third straight elimination game and forced another matchup against the Eagles later Saturday, with the winner advancing to Sunday’s championship game.

The Chanticleers trailed 4-2 before scoring twice in the bottom of the sixth to tie it. Neither team was able to capitalize on scoring chances in the seventh and Morgan Mastriania pitched around a two-out double in the top of the eighth. Cacia Pierre then led off the bottom of the inning with a single up the middle. Noad then worked a 3-2 count and hit the 10th pitch of her at-bat to left-center and the ball carried over the fence and the leaping Winthrop centerfielder.

It was Noad’s 15th homer of the season and second time she beat the Eagles with a two-run shot in the eighth inning. The freshman gave the Chants an 8-6 win in a regular-season game on April 13.

Pierre and Noad also got Coastal’s sixth-inning rally started as Pierre led off with a single and Noad doubled to the gap in left-center to put runners on second and third. An RBI groundout by Brooke Donovan made it 4-3 and Jazmin Daigle’s sacrifice fly to right brought home Noad with the tying run.

Winthrop (27-28) had a chance to go back ahead in the seventh as the Eagles’ first two batters drew walks off of Ashley Bagwell. After two balls to the next batter, Mastriania came on in relief with Bagwell bothered by a nagging arm injury. Mastriania threw two balls to Kathryn Eberlin to load the bases, but then got back-to-back strikeouts to pitch out of the jam.

Mastriania went on to pick up the victory in relief, striking out three in 1.2 innings.

The teams exchanged single runs in both the first and second innings as Winthrop’s Teja Durante and Alex White hit solo homers off of Coastal starter Kiana Quolas.

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