Coastal Carolina Cruises to 13-1 Win over UConn in NCAA Regional Opener
June 3, 2011
CLEMSON - Anthony Meo struck out seven over 6.1 innings and Hayes Orton had a career-high five hits with three RBI, as third-seed and 21st-ranked Coastal Carolina took game one, 13-1, over second seed and 16th-ranked Connecticut of the NCAA Clemson Regional Friday afternoon at Doug Kingsmore Stadium
The pitching match-up, between Meo and UConn's Matt Barnes, was highly anticipated with two potential first round draft picks in next week's Major League Baseball amateur draft. Meo (10-3) came out on top in the battle, pitching 6.1 scoreless before giving up a run in the bottom of the seventh. Barnes (11-4) lasted 4.1 innings, allowing nine hits and seven runs with three walks and six strike outs.
The Chants, who had a season-high 18 hits, jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first. Scott Woodward did what he does best, drawing a leadoff walk and stealing second. Rich Witten laid down a sacrifice bunt, moving Woodward to third, and scored one batter later on La Stella's sacrifice fly to right-center field.
Coastal avoided a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the second. After Mike Nemeth reach on an infield single and moved to second on an error, John Andreoli drew a one-out walk. After a strike out, Tim Martin walked to load the bases. However, Meo got Billy Ferriter to pop out to Witten.
After two strike outs by Barnes to start the fourth, Motter singled to left field and moved to second on Orton's 13th bunt single of the season. Tucker Frawley was hit by a pitch to load the bases and freshman Tripp Martin hit a 2-2 pitch to left-center field to plate Motter and Orton for a 3-0 CCU advantage. Woodward walked to re-load the bases, but Barnes recorded a third strike out to limit the damage.
La Stella put Coastal up 4-0 in the fifth, hitting a leadoff home run. It was his 12th blast of the season and first since May 7, a span of 13 games. Daniel Bowman followed with a single and, after a strike out, Motter doubled to right-center to put runners on second and third. Orton singled past a drawn-in infield, driving home Bowman and Motter. Orton would then steal second and scored one pitch later on an RBI single up the middle by Frawley. All told, Coastal sent nine men to the plate, scoring four runs and taking a 7-0 lead.
UConn got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the seventh. Tim Martin doubled down the left-field line and, after a strike out, L.J. Mazzilli singled up the middle to plate Martin and end Meo's day. The run was the first allowed by Meo in 16.1 innings, spanning three games.
Coastal added three runs in the eighth for a 10-1 lead. Witten had a leadoff double and La Stella followed with a single. Bowman laid down a sac bunt, but an error allowed him to reach and Witten score. Keith Hardwick dumped a single to right, plating La Stella and Orton capped the inning with an RBI double.
In the ninth, the Chants scored three more runs. Witten and La Stella had back-to-back leadoff home runs - Coastal first back-to-back dingers of the season. Bowman followed with a triple and scored two batters later on Motter's sac fly.
Coastal Carolina will play the winner of Clemson-Sacred Heart on Saturday at 7 pm.
Coastal Carolina Game One Quotes
Head Coach Gary Gilmore
“Want to congratulate these two guys. It was a huge game, not just for our team but for Anthony (Meo). Matt Barnes is an unbelievable pitcher and to go head-to-head with him was a perfect challenge. I told them yesterday that the team that makes the most pitches and makes the most plays is the team that is going to come out of this a winner. Anthony just flat out made more pitches and did his job and pitched a fantastic game for us.”
On pitcher for tomorrow
“Obviously it will depend on who we are facing. We will figure out who to go with after we find out whoever wins this next game.”
On what today showed about this team
“It shows me that some of the things I questioned at times this year, some of the relentlessness and toughness where was it. There were moments where we challenged our own selves and in the last two of three weeks we started gaining some momentum and got a lot of confidence last week winning out league. This was a gut checking game, this is one of those things were both teams come into a place and have to fight their way out. We came to play and Anthony was up for the challenge.
#13 Pitcher Anthony Meo
On facing Barnes
“It is very challenging to go up against a pitcher like that, but like coach said it came down to making pitches and we came out on top.”
On first outing since no-hitter
“The no-hitter was not on my mind but the rhythm part was. The first few innings they had a few guys on base and I was able to get out of it and that gave me a lot of confidence. I know that fifth inning helped out because I got to sit on the bench for a while and collect my thoughts then just go out there and try to finish it.”
#5 Outfielder Hayes Orton
“Obviously he has great stuff. He is going to be a first day selection. His stuff was everything we thought it was going to be and he made some mistakes we hit them. We got his pitch count up and with the heat like it was today, that is what you have to do. Keep them out there for a while.
On five hit day
“I just kept the same approach and when he made a mistake I put a pretty good swing on the ball and good things happened.”
On impact of this day for the offense
“It is unreal the confidence you can take out of a day like this. We were expecting it to be a close ballgame and to come out there early and get a one run lead and work to get that pitch count up and get a couple of runs early then let Meo do his thing. He did that and got us off the field quickly and back on the offensive side.”
Connecticut Game One Quotes
Connecticut Head Coach Jim Penders
“You have got to give credit to Coastal Carolina. They took it to us. They absolutely dictated the game from the first batter on and did exactly what they wanted to do. We did not do much of anything we wanted to do—offensively, defensively, or on the mound. We just did not play well in any aspect of the game. We did not do enough as a team to win the game and they absolutely did. We had too many walks, too many 0-2 hits, too many hit batsmen and did not deserve to win the baseball game. They absolutely deserved to win it and that is how it is supposed to work out.”
“I thought it would be a 2-1 or 3-2 game. I thought it would come down the last couple of innings and there would be a bunt we would have to defend or the vice versa they would have to do the same.”
“It is a crazy game. I had a full head of hair before I started coaching. It can drive you crazy. We have to have short memories and learn from it quickly. In football we have a week to lick our wounds. We have to get right back at it tomorrow at 3 o’clock and find a way to stay here for another day. That is what our focus has to be now. I just want to go out playing the way I know we are capable of playing and showing all the folks down here that we can play good baseball.”
Starting Pitcher Matt Barnes
“I thought my stuff was pretty good. It was one of those days where I get hit around a little bit. I could not find the zone and make the pitch when I had to make it. The first inning I walked the lead-off guy and he ended up scoring without any hits. They hit what I threw and I did not make the pitches when I had to.”
On fourth inning
“The heat did not bother me at all. I may have become too complacent with the first two outs. I may have thought it was going to be an easy inning. Clearly it was not. They got a couple of hits, a hit batter and then they have two runs across with two outs. That is just something I can’t do with two outs.”