Big South Conference Tournament Day 1 Recap

FROM CBB NEWS SOURCES

Coastal Carolina 20 UNC-Asheville 4

DANVILLE, Va. – Coastal Carolina tied a Big South tournament record with 20 runs as the No. 1 seed Chanticleers defeated No. 8 seed UNC Asheville, 20-4, in Game 1 of the 2008 Royal Purple Big South Conference Baseball Championship, May 21 at Dan Daniel Memorial Park in Danville, Va. With the victory, the Chanticleers improve to 44-11 and advance to play the loser of No. 3 VMI-No. 4 Winthrop Thursday at 3:00pm. UNC Asheville falls to 24-34 and moves to the loser’s bracket and will face the loser of No. 2 Liberty-No. 6 Radford Thursday at 11:00am.

Coastal opened up an early 6-0 lead after two innings. In the bottom of the first, Scott Woodward walked, stole second and came around to score on David Sappelt’s double down the left field line. Dock Doyle plated Sappelt on a triple to the gap in right-center field, and later scored on David Anderson’s sacrifice fly to give the Chanticleers a 3-0 lead.

In the second frame, Coastal added another three runs. Tyler Bortnick singled to open the inning, stole second and reached third when Asheville left fielder Beau Zinman bobbled Rico Noel’s liner for an error. Woodward scored Bortnick on a single through the right side, and Noel later scored on a double steal with Woodward. A wild pitch by Asheville starter Michael Bogaert moved Woodward to third, and after a walk to Sappelt, Doyle knocked home Woodward with a single to make it 6-0.

Coastal increased its lead to 7-0 with a run in the third. Tommy Baldridge walked and stole second and was doubled home by Bortnick. In the fourth inning, Coastal jumped ahead 10-0. Woodward drew his second walk of the game, and Sappelt chased Bogaert with a double to left-center field that scored Woodward from first. Doyle then hit Carson McLean’s first offering over the fence for a two-run home run.

Asheville rallied for three runs in the fifth inning. Mike Vaughn drew a walk from Coastal starter Nick McCully and moved to second on Caitlin Carter’s single to center. Vaughn reached third as part of a double play ground out, and scored the Bulldogs’ first run of the day on Kevin Weidenbacher’s single up the middle. Justin Schumer followed with a two-run homer to right-center to cut the deficit to 10-3.

The Chanticleers tacked on five runs in the sixth inning to go ahead 15-3, highlighted by Sappelt’s solo home run and Chance Gilmore’s three-run homer with two outs. Coastal added another five runs in the seventh inning to reach the single-game scoring record, while Asheville plated a run in the top of the eighth.

Sappelt finished 4-for-4 with four runs scored and three RBI, in addition to three doubles. Bortnick also had four hits and Doyle was 3-for-4 with four runs batted in. Coastal finished with 19 hits on the afternoon and six stolen bases. McCully went five innings and allowed five hits, three runs (all earned) and struck out five in earning his ninth win of the season. Bogaert fell to 6-6 after allowing nine runs (eight earned) and five walks in three innings of work. Schumer had two hits and two RBI for the Bulldogs.

Coastal scored in every inning except the fifth and eighth, and its 20 runs equal the single-game tournament record of 20, first set by the Chanticleers in the 1986 championship game against Winthrop, and later matched by Elon in 2001 vs. High Point that was also played at Dan Daniel Memorial Park.

Coastal Carolina Head Coach Gary Gilmore

“We had great focus and a total team effort today. I thought the kids did a great job offensively and we a good day on the mound. I thought Sappelt and Doyle did a great job. Those first five or six guys in the lineup sure didn’t miss their opportunities today.

UNC Asheville Head Coach Willie Stewart

“You have to give Coastal a lot of credit. They swung the bats well. We had a great game last night and just could not turn around today and keep up. We have to put this behind us and be ready to go tomorrow.”

Radford 15 Liberty 4

DANVILLE, Va. – Radford broke its single-game Conference tournament record for runs scored and Adam Hoyt pitched seven strong innings to lead the No. 6 seed Highlanders to a 15-4 upset win over No. 2 seed Liberty in Game 2 of the 2008 Royal Purple Big South Conference Baseball Championship, May 21 at Dan Daniel Memorial Park in Danville, Va. With the victory, Radford improves to 24-30 and advances to play the winner of No. 3 VMI-No. 4 Winthrop Thursday at 7:00pm. Liberty falls to 31-25-1 and moves to the loser’s bracket, where the Flames will face No. 8 UNC Asheville in an elimination game Thursday at 11:00am.

Radford exploded for an early 7-0 lead after four innings. In the first, Alex Gregory lined a two-out single up the middle and moved to second on Reggie Keen’s hit-by-pitch. An infield error loaded the bases and Liberty starter David Stokes (8-5) walked Jonathan Spears to force in Gregory. The next inning, Nachion Moore reached on an infield single and was sacrificed to second by Will Naylor. Tyren Rivers followed with a single up the middle to plate Moore.

The Highlanders added three runs in the third inning, and plated two more in the fourth. With two outs in the third, Nick Minter and Spears reached on consecutive singles. Ben Toth singled home Minter, and then both Toth and Spears scored on an error on Liberty catcher Errol Hollinger. In the fourth frame, Gregory scored Naylor on a sacrifice fly and Keen scored Rivers with a single. Radford added runs in the fifth and sixth innings to move ahead 9-0.

Radford starter Adam Hoyt (6-5) blanked Liberty through the first six innings, allowing just four hits in that span. But in the seventh, Liberty tagged Hoyt for two hits and three runs in cutting the deficit to 9-3. The Flames loaded the bases on a Garrett Young walk, Joseph Feeley single and Aaron Phillips’ hit-by-pitch. After Kenneth Negron lined out to short for the second out, Hollinger brought home all three runners with a bases-clearing double down the left field line.

But the Highlanders stormed back with a six-run eighth inning to increase their lead to 15-3. Liberty’s Cody Brown belted a solo home run to straightaway center field in the bottom of the eighth for the final margin.

Ben Toth led Radford’s 17-hit attack with a four hits, tying his career high. Gregory went 3-for-4 to raise his Big South-leading batting average to .404. He also knocked in three runs. Rivers, Keen and Naylor each posted two hits in the winning cause. Brown had three of Liberty’s nine hits, including his eighth home run of the season.

Stokes lasted just five innings on the hill for the Flames. He allowed seven runs (four earned) on 10 hits and struck out five. Hoyt scattered six hits in his seven innings with his only blemish being the three-run outburst in the seventh inning.

Liberty was without head coach Jim Toman, who was ejected in the top of the second inning.

For the second time in school history, the Highlanders have won two games in the Big South baseball tournament. In 1993, the Highlanders won three times en route to its lone championship game appearance. Radford also bettered its previous single-game Conference tournament best of 11 runs scored against Liberty in the 1993 tournament. Coupled with Coastal Carolina’s 20-run performance earlier in the day, it is the first time in Big South baseball tournament history that two games featured at least 15 runs by one team.

Radford Head Coach Joe Raccuia

“That was a great win by our ballclub today; we played with a lot of energy for three hours. We executed, played very fast, played flawless defense and Adam Hoyt gave us seven solid innings.”

Liberty Assistant Coach Scott Jackson

“Congratulations to Radford on the victory. They executed in all facets of the game, while we just had a tough day. Hopefully, we can get them tomorrow.”

Winthrop 7 VMI 2

DANVILLE, Va. – Winthrop pitcher Ryan Mullins allowed two runs over eight innings and the No. 4 seed Eagles jumped out to an early 5-0 lead en route to a 7-2 win over No. 3 seed VMI in Game 3 of the 2008 Royal Purple Big South Conference Baseball Championship, May 21 at Dan Daniel Memorial Park in Danville, Va. With the victory, Winthrop improves to 25-32 and advances to play No. 6 seed Radford Thursday at 7:00pm. VMI falls to 29-25 and moves to the loser’s bracket, where the Keydets will face No. 1 seed Coastal Carolina Thursday at 3:00pm. The victory was Joe Hudak’s 599th as Winthrop’s head coach.

Winthrop jumped on VMI starter Michael Bowman from the start, sending 10 batters to the plate in the top of the first inning and pounding out seven hits and four runs. Tony Brunetti led off with a double and reached third on Kevin Nolan’s single up the middle. Eddie Tisdale followed with a single to center that scored Brunetti, and Billy Froehlich later advanced Nolan to third on a fielder’s choice. With one out, Bryn Henderson doubled to right to score Nolan and move Froehlich to third, followed by Bowman balking in Froehlich with the third run of the inning. Winthrop continued its onslaught when Eddie Rohan singled to left to score Henderson. The Eagles would load the bases, but Bowman recorded a strikeout and fly out to escape further damage.

The Eagles added a run in the second inning when Froehlich singled to right with two outs. He took second on a passed ball and later scored on a throwing error by VMI catcher Mike Roberts.

But the Keydets battled back in each of the next two innings to cut the score to 5-2. In the second, Brian Sandridge reached second on a two-base throwing error by Nolan, and advanced to third on Justin Topping’s fly out to center. Justin Hess plated Sandridge with a sacrifice fly to right. In the third frame, Shane Geisslinger opened the inning with a hit-by-pitch and took second on Sam Roberts’ single up the middle. Mike Roberts loaded the bases with an infield hit, and Tanner Biagini scored Geisslinger on a double play groundout.

After allowing five runs in the first two innings, Bowman held Winthrop scoreless the next five frames before being lifted in the eighth inning following Brunetti’s leadoff single. The Eagles eventually scored twice off reliever Chris Duty to increase their lead to 7-2. Bowman finished with 12 hits allowed in seven innings with two walks and three strikeouts in falling to 4-6 on the year.

Mullins (7-2) handcuffed VMI most of the night. He did not allow a run after the third inning and scattered seven hits, while walking one and striking out five. He gave up two runs (one earned). Mullins fell short of the complete game, as he opened the ninth inning with a walk to Hess and a single to A.J. Yoder before turning it over to Jason McDonald. McDonald struck out Shane Geisslinger for the first out, induced Sam Roberts into popping out to shallow left, and retired Mike Roberts on a ground out to end the game.

Henderson was 2-4 with three RBI for Winthrop and was one of six Eagles with two hits on the night. Sam Roberts recorded two hits for the Keydets.

Winthrop Head Coach Joe Hudak

“When you look at a tournament like this, the first game is really important to win. Mullins threw great and really gave us a chance to win. It was a great start to the tournament. Our guys came ready to play, got seven hits in the first inning, which was huge for us. Radford is playing very well right now, emotionally they are pretty high. It’s going to be important for us to throw strikes. Obviously we can’t overlook them. They took two out of three against us, but I like our chances in the tournament as well as anybody.”

VMI Head Coach Marlin Ikenberry

“They did a nice job of coming out and putting a four-spot on (Michael) Bowman early in the game. We had some opportunities to score some runs, but their guys came up with the big plays when they needed to. Ryan Mullins did a great job of pitching tonight and Bowman was erratic and that was the story of the game.”