Big South Day 2 Recap

FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE

Liberty 10 UNC-Asheville 1

DANVILLE, Va. – Flames starter Ryan Page tossed seven shutout innings and Jeff Jefferson had four hits and three RBI in leading No. 2 seed Liberty to a 10-1 victory over No. 8 UNC Asheville in Game 4 of the 2008 Royal Purple Big South Conference Baseball Championship, May 22 at Dan Daniel Memorial Park in Danville, Va. With the victory, Liberty improves to 32-25-1 and advances to play Friday at a to-be-determined time. UNC Asheville is eliminated from the tournament and ends its season at 24-35.

In a contrast to Wednesday’s tournament action, the game was scoreless through the first three-and-a-half innings. UNC Asheville threatened to score in the top of the fourth as the Bulldogs loaded the bases with two outs. But Page retired Bulldogs first baseman Daniel Baatz on a groundout to short after Baatz fouled off five-straight pitches in an 11-pitch at-bat.

Liberty plated three runs in the bottom of the fourth to open the scoring. David Giammaresi walked and moved to third on Cody Brown’s double to the gap in left center. Garrett Young then doubled both runners home to give Liberty a 2-0 advantage. The Flames later loaded the bases and Young scored on Tim Rotola’s fielder’s choice. The runs also snapped UNC Asheville starter Graham Baughn’s 14.2 scoreless inning streak in the Big South baseball tournament.

Page got out of another bases loaded jam in the sixth inning. Asheville’s Kevin Mattison led off with a triple, increasing his Big South career record to 23. Page struck out Kevin Weidenbacher, but issued back-to-back walks to Justin Schumer and Elliott Arrington. He then fanned Reed Kreiser on three pitches and induced Baatz into a fly out to right to end the threat.

The Flames put the game out of reach in the late stages with eight runs in their final three innings. Asheville broke up the shutout in the top of the ninth when Beau Zinman singled with one out and later scored on Mattison’s single. The Bulldogs had bases loaded with one out, but Flames reliever Andrew Wilson struck out Weidenbacher and Schumer to end the game.

Page improved to 5-5 on the year with his seven inning, four-hit performance. He walked four and struck out nine. Stephen Evans relieved Page in the eighth and retired all three batters he faced. Rotola also had three RBI for the Flames, while Giammaresi and Errol Hollinger each had two hits. Mattison and Zinman led the Bulldogs with two hits apiece. Baughn suffered the loss after allowing nine hits and six runs (all earned) in 5.2 innings.

The Flames were without head coach Jim Toman, who was serving a one game suspension following his second ejection of the season on Wednesday vs. Radford.

Liberty Assistant Coach Scott Jackson

“When you have a guy like Ryan Page that goes out and throws like he did, it makes it easy for everyone. We advanced and now we have to go out and do it tomorrow.”

UNC Asheville Head Coach Willie Stewart

“We missed a lot of opportunities. We had some big at-bats with the bases loaded early in the game, but couldn’t get a big hit. Liberty responded well in the bottom of those innings and got the big hits. That was the difference. We just didn’t get it done today.”

Coastal Carolina 3 VMI 1

DANVILLE, Va. – No. 1 seed Coastal Carolina scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth to break a 1-1 tie and held on to defeat No. 3 seed VMI, 3-1, in Game 5 of the 2008 Royal Purple Big South Conference Baseball Championship, May 22 at Dan Daniel Memorial Park in Danville, Va. With the victory, Coastal Carolina improves to 45-11 and advances to play the winner of No. 4 Winthrop-No. 6 Radford, Friday at 3:00pm. VMI is eliminated from the tournament and ends its season at 29-26.

Coastal grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first inning when David Anderson lined a two-out double to right center and came around on a double by Big South Player of the Year Dock Doyle.

The Keydets tied the game at 1-1 in the fourth when Tanner Biagini singled to left and was advanced to second on Brian Sandridge’s sacrifice bunt. Jordan Ballard singled up the middle to score Biagini from second. VMI later had runners on first and second, but Coastal starter Bobby Gagg got A.J. Yoder to fly out.

With one out in the seventh inning, VMI threatened to take its first lead of the day when Shane Geisslinger was hit-by-pitch by new Coastal pitcher Joey Haug and reached second on Sam Roberts’ single to left. The next batter, Mike Roberts, singled to right field. Geisslinger raced around third and headed for home with the go-ahead score, but Coastal right fielder Tommy Baldridge threw him out with a perfect throw at the plate. Biagini then flied out to end the inning.

It remained 1-1 in the eighth inning, when VMI starter Trey Barham (4-6) plunked Coastal’s Scott Woodward with one out. After Anderson flied out, Woodward stole second to move into scoring position. Doyle and Adam Rice both walked to load the bases, and Barham was lifted for left-handed reliever Travis Smink. Baldridge then reached on a fielding error by VMI shortstop A.J. Yoder, which allowed both Woodward and Doyle to score with the deciding runs.

In the ninth inning, Pete Andrelczyk entered the game for the Chanticleers and recorded a strikeout and two ground outs to earn the save. Gagg, making his first appearance since May 2 due to an injury, went six innings and allowed seven hits, one run (earned), one walk and had two strikeouts in the no decision. Haug allowed no runs and two hits in his two innings of work. He was credited with his sixth victory of the year.

At the plate, Doyle and David Sappelt each had two hits for Coastal. Mike Roberts and Ballard also recorded two hits on the day for VMI. Barham tossed 7.2 innings and permitted six hits, three runs (one earned) and walked three, while fanning seven batters.

Coastal Carolina Head Coach Gary Gilmore

“I thought we pitched extremely well, but I thought they pitched great as well. I give my hat off to Trey Barham. Obviously, I haven’t seen him in every outing, but that was the best lengthy outing he’s ever pitched against us. We just didn’t have good swings. We didn’t hit a whole lot of balls off the barrel. I thought we played great defense in the infield. Derek (Martin) made several good plays. Tyler (Bortnick) made some good plays. We’ll see. In this game, when you play long enough, you have to learn how to win always. You can’t score 20 runs every day.”

VMI Head Coach Marlin Ikenberry

“That’s a tough way to end your season, especially with a guy like Trey Barham out there on the mound. He competed his tail off for eight innings, and it’s just unfortunate that we have to end our season like we did. They’re the best team that we’ve played all year, and I thought we had them on the ropes. If a couple more plays go our way, then we win the ballgame. I was proud of the way our seniors played today, Shane (Geisslinger) and Trey (Barham) laid it all on the line just like they’ve been doing for the last four seasons.”

Winthrop 13 Radford 9

DANVILLE, Va. – No. 4 seed Winthrop scored five unanswered runs in its final two innings to fend off No. 6 seed Radford, 13-9, in Game 6 of the 2008 Royal Purple Big South Conference Baseball Championship, May 22 at Dan Daniel Memorial Park in Danville, Va. With the victory, Winthrop improves to 26-32 and advances to play No. 1 seed Coastal Carolina Friday at 3:00pm. Radford falls to 24-31 and will face No. 2 seed Liberty in an elimination game Friday morning at 11:00am. The victory was Joe Hudak’s 600th as Winthrop’s head coach.

The game was back-and-forth all night, with the seventh inning being the pivotal point of the ballgame as both teams combined for seven runs. After Winthrop extended its lead to 8-4 in the sixth, Radford scored five runs in the top of the seventh to take its first lead of the game at 9-8. Ben Toth singled, Tyren Rivers walked and Will Naylor loaded the bases with a bunt single. Alex Gregory reached on an error that scored Toth and ended the day for Winthrop starter Hamilton Bennett. New Eagles pitcher Matteo D’Angelo gave up an RBI single to Reggie Keen that cut the lead to 8-6, and then Nate Toth had a bases clearing double that pushed the Highlanders ahead for the first time.

The lead was short-lived, however, as Winthrop scored twice in the bottom of the inning to move back ahead, 10-9. The Eagles loaded the bases and pushed home the tying run when Aaron Bonomi’s single scored Eddie Rohan, who opened the inning with a walk. Tyler McBride gave Winthrop the lead for good with a sacrifice fly that scored Bryn Henderson. Winthrop reliever Josh McDonald replaced D’Angelo in the seventh and limited Radford to four hits and no runs in 2.2 innings to earn his fourth win. Winthrop added three insurance runs in the eighth inning for the final 13-9 margin.

Winthrop scored first with four runs in the second inning. The Eagles loaded the bases on singles by Henderson, Billy Froehlich and Bonomi. Bennett Jordan knocked a one out single through the left side to score Henderson and Froehlich, and a throwing error by Keen allowed Bonomi to score and Jordan to reach second base. Highlanders starter Mark Beppler balked Jordan to third, and Tony Brunetti plated Jordan with a ground out to first base.

Radford got one of the runs back in the top of the third. Nachion Moore tripled to open the inning and scored on Ben Toth’s groundout to third. The Eagles came right back to take a 5-1 lead in the bottom half when Froehlich doubled with two outs and scored on John Murrian’s single to left.

But the Highlanders continued to chip away at the deficit and scored in the next three innings to make it a one-run game. In the top of the fourth, Gregory belted a solo home run over the left field wall for his second home run of the tournament and 14th of the season to make the score 5-2. Then in the fifth, the Highlanders made it 5-3 when Ben Toth reached second base on an infield error and scored on Rivers’ two-out single to center. In the sixth, Gregory doubled to left and was brought home on Keen’s triple down the left field line that moved Radford within one at 5-4.

Winthrop halted Radford’s comeback in the bottom of the sixth when Murrian knocked a two-run home run off Beppler to push the Eagles’ lead to 7-4. Froehlich led off the inning with a walk and Murrian hit Beppler’s first pitch out of the park for his sixth homer of the season. Bonomi followed Murrian and reached base on an error by Rivers, was sacrificed to second by Jordan, and scored on Brunetti’s double down the right field line to make the score 8-4 and chase Beppler.

Murrian led Winthrop’s 15-hit attack with a 4-for-5 night and five RBI. Bonomi had three hits while Froehlich and Brunetti each had two. Brunetti, Bonomi and Jordan also had two RBI each. Keen finished 4-for-4 at the plate with two RBI for Radford, while Nate Toth knocked in a team-high three runs. Gregory and Moore each had two of the Highlanders’ 13 hits on the night. Radford reliever Steve Pysh suffered the loss after allowing the go-ahead run in just 0.2 innings of work.

It was the first meeting between Winthrop and Radford in the Big South baseball tournament since 2000 and the fifth overall, with Winthrop now 3-2 against the Highlanders in the postseason.

Winthrop Head Coach Joe Hudak

“I’ve got to give Radford a lot of credit. They are better club than a lot of people give them credit for. I was very pleased of how we came back after that big inning (in the seventh). We’ve been swinging the bats very well, so they got five runs, but we came right back. We are playing with a lot of confidence right now and this was a big win for us. Hamilton (Bennett) certainly pitched well enough for us to get a win and Josh (McDonald) came in and threw well.”

Radford Head Coach Joe Raccuia

“We were terrible in every facet of the game. We deserved to lose the baseball game.”