June 4, 2010
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - In the opening game of the 2010 NCAA Myrtle Beach Regional, No. 4 national seed Coastal Carolina (52-7) fought off a pesky Stony Brook (29-26) squad for a 6-0 victory, June 4. With the win, the Chanticleers advance to the 7 p.m. Saturday game against the winner of tonight's College of Charleston and NC State contest, while the Seawolves will play in the 1 p.m. elimination game tomorrow against tonight's loser.
The contest was delayed 18 minutes at the beginning, as rain came out of the sky when Coastal starter junior Cody Wheeler was taking his final warm-up pitches. Despite the delayed start, the junior held the Seawolves scoreless in the first, as did SBU starter sophomore Nick Tropeano who struck out the side in the bottom of the opening inning.
The Chanticleers were the first on the board, scoring in the bottom of the second. Redshirt-sophomore Tommy LaStella led off with a single to left and moved to second on senior Adam Rice's sacrifice bunt. A ground out advanced LaStella to third with two down and sophomore Daniel Bowman drove a single to left score LaStella and give the hosts a 1-0 lead.
A second weather delay held up the game for 57 minutes with three innings complete in the contest. After neither team put anything on the board in the fourth, Stony Brook got a threat going with back-to-back, one-out singles from sophomores Pat Cantwell and Chad Marshall at the top of the order. Wheeler, however, forced junior Stephen Marino to ground into a 6-3 double play to end the inning.
Coastal carried the momentum into the bottom half of the frame, putting up three runs. Bowman led off with a triple to center field, but Tropeano settled down to get the next two Chanticleers out in order. Junior Rico Noel reached base on a catcher's interference to put runners on the corners. With junior Scott Woodward at the plate, Tropeano balked in a run to make it 2-0 Coastal. Woodward then drove in Noel with a single to right center field to push the advantage to three. Senior Jose Iglesias followed with a double down the left field line, scoring Woodward all the way from first on the play to make it 4-0 Chanticleers through five innings.
Coastal added a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth, started by LaStella's double to right. A failed sacrifice attempt made it one down, before Motter put runners on the corners with a single to left. Bowman reached on a fielder's choice that had LaStella out in a run down at third and left the Chants with runners on first and second with two outs. Redshirt-senior Chance Gilmore singled in Motter with the fifth run of the game. Redshirt-sophomore Rich Witten finished the scoring with a single to right, plating Bowman with the sixth and final run of the game.
Wheeler fought through both rain delays to throw a complete game and move to 11-0. He scattered six hits, struck out six and walked just two in throwing his first shutout of the year. The win was 27th in his career, ranking sixth in Coastal Carolina history and moved him to 1-1 in three NCAA Regional appearances. Tropeano fell to 8-4 on the season, throwing a complete game as well, and giving up 11 hits and three earned runs while striking out five.
Woodward led the Coastal attack with a 2-for-3 performance with one RBI, while LaStella, Bowman and Gilmore were each 2-for-4. SBU was led by Tanner Nivins, who was 2-for-4 on the afternoon.
Coastal Carolina Head Coach Gary Gilmore
On Cody Wheeler's performance: I'm gassed. It is hot. I want to first and foremost congratulate one of my players. This young man here (Cody) exorcised some demons today. He pitched one of his best games he's pitched in his career to give us a complete game and save our bullpen, giving us a chance to come back tomorrow full strength. It's fantastic."
On Defense: "The play Rico Noel made in center field was a game changer, for sure a momentum changer. Tommy La Stella and Rich Witten's play were all huge. You don't make those plays then we are in a dog fight with Nick Tropeano. I knew we would be in a dog fight, we were at a premium for hits today. All you had to do was look at his numbers and they don't lie. We hit balls hard at the end of the game, but for the first five innings it was a struggle to scrap anything from him. Cody gave us an opportunity to scrap and scrap to get a lead and find a way to score to let him settle in."
Coastal Carolina Starting Pitcher Junior Cody Wheeler
On the efficient pitching performance "Basically today I pitched off my change-up. I threw a slider and two-seam fast ball off of the change-ups, a lot of first pitch change-ups. They were very aggressive early on and I use that to my benefit and kept on throwing."
Stony Brook Head Coach Matt Senk
Opening Statement: First I want to congratulate Coastal. There is a reason why they have won 51 games and are the fourth seed in this tournament. This young man [Nick Tropeano], I think displayed the heart of our team and what we are all about. We gave it our best effort, however, Coastal made some plays when they needed to and the game offensively is about timely hitting and they did the same there. Obviously, Wheeler pitched an awesome game and Nick went toe to toe. I am very proud of our guys. We are disappointed in the result and you have to tip your hat to Coastal and what they did.
On Nick Tropeano's effort: It was extremely disappointing. To get people in scoring position against good teams, you are not going to go out there and score at will. We had our opportunities and he certainly deserved to get some run support there. Nick really exemplifies the heart and soul of our team and what our program is about. We fought hard, but we didn't do the small things to make this game go in our favor.
On Cody Wheeler's effort on the mound: Very much like Nick, I think he is a strike thrower and then once he was able to get a mix going, that's really what's it about. He did a good job of mixing pitches and I think he only had two walks. He forced people to put three hits together and that's always a formula for success. He did another tremendous job against us; he shut us out last year as well, and has great pitchability.
Stony Brook Starting Pitcher Sophomore Nick Tropeano
On Coastal's ability to string hits together: The just made some adjustments. When I was up in the count, I made some good pitches, but they fought it and got some singles. Basically, when I was feeding off my fastball, they knew where it was coming and made adjustments. Tough hitters, I was making some good pitches, they were just fighting it off.
On rhythm after balk: The balk just crushed me a little bit, but I tried to keep my composure and throw strikes and get them out. I just tried to forget about it and keep going.
On keeping warm during the rain delay: I threw on a sweater on the bus and kept on stretching. Stretched as much as possible, drank as much water as possible and then as soon as we got called out, kept stretching and started throwing a little bit and I was good to go after that.