Chants work late shift, top G-W in Big South quarters

ccubase-beckwithThe top-seeded and 17th-ranked Coastal Carolina baseball team had to work the night shift to knock off Gardner-Webb 4-3 on Wednesday night in a game that ended just before midnight.

Coastal Carolina had to hold off scoring threats in the eighth and ninth innings but held on to defeat fourth-seeded Gardner-Webb, 4-3, in the second round of the 2016 Big South Tournament. The Chanticleers (42-15) will have Thursday off and play in the semifinal versus the winner of High Point-Longwood on Friday at 10 a.m.

Gardner-Webb (37-20) scored once in the ninth to make the score 4-3. The Bulldogs put had the tying run on third and the go-ahead run on second before Mike Morrison struck out Justin Kunz to end the game and earn his seventh save of the season. (Morrison got the win in the opening round and is 7-1 for the year.)

Gardner-Webb got on the scoreboard first as Danny Sullivan hit the first pitch of the second inning over the left field fence for a 1-0 GWU lead.

Coastal used the longball to get on the board in the fourth. Connor Owings singled to right and Zach Remillard crushed a two-run home run to right center field. The blast was Remillard’s 17th of the season and gave Coastal a 2-1 lead.

The Runnin’ Bulldogs answered in the top of the fifth, tying the game at 2-2, as Matt Simmons sliced an opposite field home run just inside the left field foul pole.

The Chants regained the lead in the bottom of the sixth. Owings legged out a fielder’s choice to avoid an inning-ending double play. Remillard then lair down a bunt single and G.K. Young lined an RBI single to right field to bring home Owings.

Gardner-Webb made a little noise in the top of the seventh as Simmons singled and Mason Fox walked with two outs. However, CCU starter Andrew Beckwith struck out pinch hitter Chandler Redmond. The Chants rode that momentum into the bottom half of the seventh. Seth Lancaster hit a leadoff double and moved to third on a Matt Beaird sacrifice bunt.  Anthony Marks hit a high chopper to second which allowed Lancaster to score for a 4-2 lead. While Beaird did not get an RBI, he did deliver his 10th sac bunt and the runner he advanced has scored all 10 times.

The Bulldogs once again threatened in the eighth. After back-to-back singles to start the frame, Collin Thacker hit a soft pop fly between the CCU first and second basemen. Lancaster tried to catch the ball in the air, but dropped it on his long run to the ball. However, the quickly picked up the ball and threw a strike to Remillard at third for one out and Remillard threw the ball to second to complete the double play. Gardner-Webb kept the pressure on with a single to put runners on first and second before CCU turned to Bobby Holmes out the bullpen. The sophomore induced a poop out to end the threat.

In the ninth and one out, Simmons was hit by a pitch. Holmes got a second out before Redmond lined a two-out double to left center field to put runners on second and third. Morrison came out of the bullpen and Tyler Best reached on an infield single to score pinch runner Eric Jones and move Redmond to third. Best stole second but Morrison ran the count full on Kunz before getting the GWU catcher to swing and miss to end the game.

Lost in the shuffle, Beckwith, the 2016 Big South Pitcher of the Year, improved to 10-1. The junior allowed eight hits and two runs over 7.2 innings. He walked one and recorded a strikeout.

For the second time this year, GWU starter Jeremy Walker (9-5) suffered a loss while pitching a complete game. He allowed eight hits and four runs with one walk and seven strikeouts.

 

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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