May 26, 2010
ROCK HILL, S.C. (www.BigSouthSports.com) - Anthony Meo scattered five hits in seven innings and Adam Rice knocked in four runs to lead No. 1 seed Coastal Carolina to an 11-2 win over No. 6 seed VMI in Game 3 of the 2010 Royal Purple Big South Baseball Championship, May 25 at The Winthrop Ballpark on the campus of Winthrop University. With the victory, the Chanticleers improve to 48-7 and advance to play the loser of No. 3 Radford-No. 4 High Point Thursday at 3:00pm. VMI falls to 33-21 and moves to the loser's bracket, and will face the loser of No. 2 Liberty-No. 5 Winthrop Thursday at 11:00am.
VMI plated a run in the first inning when Sam Roberts opened the game with a double to deep center. He moved to third on Cory Spangenberg's ground out, and scored on Jordan Ballard's sacrifice fly for a quick 1-0 lead. The lead did not last long, as the Chanticleers moved ahead 3-1 in the bottom of the first on Rice's two-out, three-run home run off VMI starter Jason Farley. Jose Iglesias walked and Tommy La Stella singled to right to set the table for Rice, who hit a 3-2 pitch over the left field fence for his ninth homer of the season.
After both teams went scoreless the next two frames, the Chanticleers batted around in the fourth inning and scored five runs to take a commanding 8-1 lead. With one out, Chance Gilmore doubled down the right field line and scored on Josh Conway's single to center. After Rico Noel reached on an error, Scott Woodward singled home Conway to make it 5-1 and chase Farley. Noel and Woodward executed a double steal before new pitcher Ryan Barefoot walked Iglesias to load the bases. Barefoot then issued back-to-back walks to plate Noel and Woodward, and was pulled for Alan Watts. Barefoot struck out the next batter, Taylor Motter, but a passed ball scored Iglesias for the fifth and final run of the inning.
In the fifth, Gilmore hit a solo home run to left that extended Coastal's lead to 9-1, and Iglesias' RBI single with two outs scored Woodward from second to make it 10-1.
VMI scored its second run of the game in the sixth inning when Roberts opened the frame with an infield single and moved to second base on a wild pitch. Spangenberg singled to left to advance Roberts to third, and Graham Sullivan's ground out to first base scored Roberts. Coastal Carolina added a run in the eighth inning for the final margin of the game.
Meo scattered five hits and struck out eight in seven innings to pick up the win. He improves to 13-1 on the season, and is the first Big South pitcher to win 13 games since Winthrop duo Heath Rollins and Alex Wilson each won 13 in 2006. Farley (4-5) suffers the loss after allowing seven runs (six earned) in 3.1 innings pitched.
Gilmore, Woodward and La Stella had two hits each for the Chanticleers. Noel and Woodward each stole two bases, with Noel's pair giving him 50 on the season - just the third player in Big South history to reach the threshold in a season. Roberts had two of VMI's five hits and scored both Keydet runs.
Coastal Carolina Head Coach Gary Gilmore
"I thought our kids did a great job. It was a huge at-bat by Adam Rice in the first inning. For him to put a swing on the ball and get us back after giving up a run in the first was big. If there was a turning point in the game, that was it. VMI manufactured that run in the first and gave them confidence. That was a big play, no doubt."
VMI Head Coach Marlin Ikenberry
"Coastal has a great club, you cannot give them anything. We walked too many guys today, and Jason Farley left a 3-2 change-up over the plate which he had to. Tip your cap to Adam Rice for hitting it out of the park. I like the way we came out swinging the bats early off of Meo. Then he settled in and did a great job. The key to the game is pitching and defense, and they pitched better than us and played better defense than us."
- Coastal Carolina improves to 4-0 over VMI in Big South Tournament history. Coastal also has defeated VMI for the fourth straight season.
- Sophomore Anthony Meo's 13th win ties a single-season wins record for the Chanticleers. Scott Sturkie (2003), Ron Deubel (1999) and Steve Smith (1979) each won 13 games in a season.
- Meo's 13 wins also is the first time a Big South pitcher has won 13 games in a season since the Winthrop duo of Alex Wilson and Heath Rollins in 2006.
- VMI scored a run in the top of the first. It was just the 15th time this season that the Chants' opponent has scored first in a game.
- Senior Adam Rice hit Coastal's 89th home run of the season, a three-run shot in the first inning. It was Rice's 24th career home run, which ties him for 17th place on Coastal Carolina's career home run list.
- Senior Jose Iglesias drove in a run in the fifth inning. It was his 68th run-batted-in and ties him with High Point's Nate Roberts for the Big South lead in that category.
- Junior Rico Noel became the third player in Big South history to steal 50 bases in a season with his swipe in the seventh inning. Noel joins Coastal's Ryan McGraw (63) and Armstrong State's Mickey Peyton (58) in the 50-stolen base category.
- Rice now has 11 RBI in Big South Tournament history.