#27 Coastal Falls in 9th of Title Game, 5-4, vs #23 Radford
BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. - Radford scored a run in the eighth inning and got a walk-off RBI single from Hunter Higgerson in the ninth to give the 23rd-ranked Highlanders (43-14) a 5-4 win versus #27 Coastal Carolina (38-19) Saturday in the title game of the 2015 Big South Championship, played at Gardner-Webb's John H. Moss Stadium.
Radford started the ninth with singles by Chris Coia and Shane Johnsonbaugh. After a pair of strikeouts, Higgerson, the tournament MVP, hit an RBI single to score Coia and give Radford the title.
Radford, the regular-season champion as well and winners of 15 straight, won the program's first tournament title in their second appearance, finishing runner-up in 1993. The Chanticleers were playing in their 18th tournament championship game, winning 13 titles and now finishing runner-up five times.
Coastal Carolina had five hits and four runs in the fourth inning, but a trio of Radford pitchers afterwards threw a combined five scoreless innings without allowing a hit and just one walk to secure the victory. Ryan Meisinger (5-0) was credited with the win, pitching a perfect top of the ninth with two strikeouts. Kyle Palmer relieved starter Mitchell MacKeith and pitched 2.2 innings with a strikeout. Austin Ross worked an 1.1 with a walk and strikeout.
Mike Morrison (2-3) was the tough-luck loser despite tying a career high with seven strikeouts, including two each in the eighth and ninth innings. He pitched 3.2 innings and allowed two runs on five hits.
Radford got on the scoreboard first. Danny Hrbek hit a leadoff single and took second on a balk. A bunt single by Aaron Scoville put runners on the corners with no outs. The Highlanders tried a hit and run, but Brad Keen hit a fly ball to center and Scoville was doubled off at first. However, Hrbek was able to tag and score from third on the fly out for the 1-0 lead.
In the fourth, Coastal Carolina sent nine men to the plate and scored four runs. The Chants loaded the bases with no outs thanks to a single by Anthony Marks, bunt single by Michael Paez and walk to Connor Owings. Zach Remillard lined a two-strike single through the right side of the infield to drive in Marks and tie the game. Then with two outs, Tyler Chadwick lined a two-run single to center just beyond the outstretched glove of a diving RU shortstop Chris Coia. Matt Beaird, a late replacement for an injured Casey Schroeder at game time, followed with an RBI single for just his third RBI of the season.
The Highlanders cut their deficit to one, 4-3, in the fifth. Keen singled and, after a strikeout, Coia walked while Johnsonbaugh was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Josh Reavis chopped a single to deep shortstop to bring home Keen and keep the bases loaded. Brock Hunter came out the bullpen to get Patrick Marshall to hit a fly out, but it was deep enough to score Coia.
Radford tied the game, 4-4, in the eighth. Reavis and Marshall had back-to-back hits. After a sacrifice bunt, Coastal intentionally walked Hrbek to load the bases. Scoville reached on an error, which allowed Reavis to score and keep the bases loaded. Mike Morrison recorded consecutive strikeouts to limit the damage.
The Coastal Carolina baseball team will host an NCAA Road to Omaha Selection Show party Monday (May 25) at Handley's Pub & Grub in Carolina Forest. The selection show will be telecast on ESPNU and begins at Noon (ET).