Big South Day 3 Recap

FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE

Liberty 11 Radford 2

DANVILLE, Va. – Flames starter Dustin Umberger tossed a complete game and struck out 10 to lead No. 2 Liberty past No. 6 Radford, 11-2 in Game 7 of the 2008 Royal Purple Big South Conference Baseball Championship, May 23 at Dan Daniel Memorial Park in Danville, Va. With the victory, Liberty improves to 33-25-1 and advances to play the loser of No. 1 Coastal Carolina-No. 4 Winthrop Friday night at 7:00pm for a chance to earn a berth in Saturday’s Championship game. Radford, which defeated Liberty 15-4 in their first tournament meeting on Wednesday, is eliminated with the loss and ends its season at 24-32.

Liberty jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Kenneth Negron was hit-by-pitch to start the inning and came all the way around to score on David Giammaresi’s one-out double to right center. Cody Brown singled to left and took second on an error by Radford left fielder Jonathan Spears. With runners on second and third and one out, Radford starter Cassidy McDaniel (3-5) was replaced by Kyle Starr. Garrett Young then singled through the left side to score Giammaresi, and Aaron Grijalva’s fielder’s choice groundout plated Brown for the third run.

The Flames tacked on five runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to move ahead 8-0. Tim Rotola walked and later scored on Errol Hollinger’s single. Aaron Phillips reached on an error and later scored on Giammaresi’s single through the right side. Hollinger later scored on Brown’s double to left, and Giammaresi came around to score on a Young single. Josh Hammonds replaced Starr on the mound for Radford and gave up a sacrifice fly to Grijalva that scored Brown.

Umberger (8-3) had a no-hitter through 4.2 innings before it was broken up in the fifth inning by Nate Toth’s RBI single that scored Spears from second base. Spears reached base with one out on a hit-by-pitch and moved into scoring position on Hollinger’s passed ball. Umberger had retired 10-straight batters prior to hitting Spears. Toth’s hit was the first of three-in-a-row off Umberger, as Ben Toth followed with a single to center and Tyren Rivers then singled to score Nate Toth to cut Liberty’s lead to 8-2.

Liberty added runs in the fifth, sixth and eighth for the final 11-2 margin.

Umberger permitted six hits and two walks in going the distance for his second complete game of the year, and struck out Nachion Moore to end the ballgame. Young was 4-for-5 at the plate and was part of a quartet of Flames with two RBI. Brown had three hits for Liberty, while Giammaresi had two hits and two runs batted in.

Nate Toth led Radford with two hits. Big South batting leader Alex Gregory singled in the eighth inning for his 200th career hit, becoming the eighth player in Radford history with 200. McDaniel suffered the loss in just 0.1 innings of work. He allowed three runs on two hits in his brief stint.

Liberty Head Coach Jim Toman

“I am really pleased with how we have bounced back after the opening round loss. Ryan Page pitched well yesterday and Dustin [Umberger] was really strong today. Now, we go back to the hotel and rest. We will see what we can do tonight.”

Radford Head Coach Joe Raccuia

“(Dustin) Umberger threw an outstanding game, he attacked our hitters with fastballs. Once (Liberty) took the lead, it was difficult for us to comeback against a guy like that. This was an important season for our program with the strides we’ve made. I would like to thank the seniors for their effort in every game this year.”

Coastal Carolina 8 Winthrop 6

DANVILLE, Va. – No. 1 seed Coastal Carolina scored early and often and held off a charging Winthrop squad in defeating the No. 4 seed Eagles, 8-6, in Game 8 of the 2008 Royal Purple Big South Conference Baseball Championship, May 23 at Dan Daniel Memorial Park in Danville, Va. With the victory, the Chanticleers improve to 46-11 and advance to tomorrow’s Championship game. Winthrop falls to 26-33 and plays No. 2 Liberty Friday night at 7:00pm in an elimination game for a chance to earn a berth in Saturday’s Championship game opposite the Chanticleers.

For the third time in the tournament, Coastal scored in the first inning. Scott Woodward walked, and after David Sappelt struck out, Woodward stole his fourth base of the tournament. Dock Doyle walked, and both runners moved up a base on a wild pitch by Winthrop starter Ryan Schwartz. Tommy Baldridge then notched an infield single to score Woodward and Doyle later scored on Adam Rice’s single to center.

In the second frame, Coastal pushed its lead to 3-0 when Rico Noel tripled to the gap in right-center field with one out and scored on Woodward’s bunt for a base hit. In the third, the Chanticleers went ahead 4-0 when Baldridge doubled to center, moved to third on a sacrifice by Rice, and scored on Tyler Bortnick’s infield single.

Coastal starter Cody Wheeler escaped a jam in the top of the fourth. With one out, Bryn Henderson doubled to center and moved to third on Billy Froehlich’s infield single. Wheeler then wild pitched Froehlich into scoring position, but settled down and fanned Eddie Rohan swinging and John Murrian looking to keep the Eagles off the scoreboard.

After Coastal increased its lead to 5-0 in the fifth inning, the Eagles chased Wheeler after loading the bases on a single by Eddie Tisdale and walks to Henderson and Froehlich. David Anderson relieved Wheeler and Rohan put Winthrop on the board with a two-run single that scored Tisdale and Henderson to make the score 5-2. The Eagles scored their third run in the inning when Froehlich scored on an error by Bortnick. Anderson then induced a double play groundout to get out of the inning.

The Chanticleers added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth and regained its five-run lead in the seventh on Bortnick’s two-run home run, his sixth of the season. The margin was short-lived, as Winthrop battled back and loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth against new Coastal pitcher Joey Haug. After Rohan struck out, Murrian scored Tisdale with a sacrifice fly, then an error by new Chanticleer first baseman Derek Martin allowed Henderson to score and cut the lead to 8-5. A fielding error by Noel that would have ended the inning allowed Froehlich to cross the plate and pulled Winthrop within two runs at 8-6. But Haug retired Tony Brunetti on a groundout to end the rally.

Pete Andrelczyk entered in the ninth and recorded a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his ninth save and the Chanticleers’ Big South-record 13th Championship game berth. Bortnick finished 2-for-4 with 3 RBI, while Baldridge had three hits in the win. Wheeler improved to 6-0 on the year after going 5.1 innings and allowing two earned runs, four hits in addition to his four strikeouts. Schwartz (6-7) suffered the loss, as he allowed five runs (all earned) and eight hits in four innings. He struck out five. Tisdale and Rohan each had two hits for the Eagles.

The game marked the seventh time this tournament that a team has scored in the first inning, and all seven teams are 7-0 thus far in the championship.

Coastal Carolina Head Coach Gary Gilmore

“It feels good. We’re going to be like everyone else figuring out who to pitch. We’ll be in our fourth game and other teams in their fifth. I’m sure it will be tougher on them than on us, but nobody in this tournament is going to give up. It will be a tough game tomorrow. These teams will compete.

“I thought Cody (Wheeler) did a real good job. He physically hits that wall. We tried to milk one more inning. In hindsight, we probably should have seen where we were and gone to the bullpen. It was still a very tight ballgame at that point. You always wonder if you can squeeze another inning out of him.

“Pete (Andrelczyk) has been our guy all year. Our bullpen has been strong all year long.”

Liberty 15 Winthrop 3

DANVILLE, Va. – No. 2 seed Liberty plated eight runs in the second inning and Clarence Nicely tossed a complete game six-hitter to lead the Flames to a 15-3 victory over No. 4 seed Winthrop in Game 9 of the 2008 Royal Purple Big South Conference Baseball Championship, May 23 at Dan Daniel Memorial Park in Danville, Va. With the victory, the Flames improve to 34-25-1 and advance to tomorrow’s Championship game against No. 1 seed Coastal Carolina at 1:00pm. Liberty would need to defeat the Chanticleers to force a second game to determine the Big South champion. Winthrop falls to 26-34 and is eliminated from the tournament.

Winthrop opened the scoring in the second inning when Billy Froehlich scored on Aaron Bonomi’s sacrifice fly. But Liberty exploded for eight runs in the bottom of the second, sending 13 batters to the plate to erase Winthrop’s early 1-0 lead. Cody Brown hit the first pitch from Eagles starter Wade Newman down the left field line for his ninth homer of the year, tying the game at 1-1. Later in the inning, Aaron Phillips recorded a three-run double to give the Flames a 5-1 lead. Aaron Grijalva had two hits and three RBI in the inning as well.

The Flames jumped ahead 12-1 with four runs in the third frame, highlighted by Errol Hollinger’s two-run double that scored Tim Rotola and Jeff Jefferson, and Brown’s two-run double that scored Hollinger and Kenneth Negron. The Flames added one run in the fourth and two scores in the eighth to round out their 15 runs.

Winthrop’s Bryn Henderson and John Murrian belted solo home runs in back-to-back innings to briefly spark the Eagle offense. Henderson’s blast was his seventh of the year and it hit the left field scoreboard. Murrian’s dinger sailed over the left field scoreboard for his second home run of the tournament and seventh of the year as well.

On the mound, Nicely allowed six hits in his nine innings of work to improve to 6-1 on the year. He permitted three runs (all earned), walked four and struck out six. It was the second-straight complete game by a Liberty pitcher on the day. Jefferson went 5-for-5 at the plate and scored four runs, while Brown had three hits and three RBI. Grijalva and Phillips also knocked in three runs for the Flames.

Newman lasted just one inning for the Eagles in falling to 2-2. He gave up six runs (all earned) on five hits. Murrian and Eddie Rohan each had two of Winthrop’s six hits.

Liberty clinches its third consecutive championship game appearance and will face the Chanticleers in a rematch of last year’s title game, which was won by Coastal. It will be just the second championship rematch in Big South history, as Coastal and Liberty met for the title in 2002 and 2003. In addition, it will be the sixth championship game match-up between the No. 1 and 2 seeds since 1998. The No. 2 seed has won three of the previous five meetings.

It is the Flames’ eighth overall championship game berth, the second-most in Big South history. Coastal Carolina and Liberty will meet in the Championship game for the fifth time overall and fourth time since 2002. The Chanticleers are 4-2 against the Flames in the title series, winning the crown three times (2002, 2003, 2007).

Liberty Head Coach Jim Toman

“We jumped out to a good start tonight and that set the tone for the rest of the night. Now we have a chance to play tomorrow for the title. I am proud of how we have battled back from Wednesday’s loss to get to this point.”

Winthrop Head Coach Joe Hudak

“The Coastal game was an emotional game for us. We battled hard, but lost 8-6. It’s hard to regroup after only a 45-minute break. It wasn’t the kind of year we wanted to have, but I told them I was proud of them for the way they stayed together and played hard. The tough time about this time of the year is that this group will never be together again.”