Coastal Carolina Advances to Super Regional in Dramatic Fashion
RALEIGH, N.C. - Coastal Carolina (47-16) scored four runs in the top of the ninth, thanks to a two-run single by Seth Lancaster, and All-American Mike Morrison worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth to lead the Chanticleers to their third NCAA Super Regional by defeating North Carolina State (38-22) 7-5 in the second NCAA Raleigh Regional Championship game.
Coastal will face the winner of either LSU or Rice (Baton Rouge Regional champion) in a Super Regional. If Rice wins, the Chanticleers will host a Super Regional at Spring Brooks Stadium; however, if LSU wins the Chants will travel to the home of the Tigers.
NC State had beaten Coastal, 8-1, in the first championship game Monday afternoon. The teams turned around later to play a second championship game Monday evening, a contest that was suspended in the ninth and continued Tuesday afternoon.
The second game started an hour-and-20 minutes late Monday (7:40 pm) due to rain, endured a 39-minute rain delay in the top of the fifth inning and was suspended at 12:05 am in the top of the ninth until 2 pm Tuesday. When play was suspended, Coastal had the bases loaded, one out and G.K. Young coming to bat. The game resumed at 2:02 pm Tuesday for a delay of 13 hours and 57 minutes.
Young ground out to first base, but drove in Anthony Marks to cut the CCU deficit to one, 5-4. Senior Tyler Chadwick, who was battling an injury, came off the bench to pinch hit and would re-load the bases with two outs after he was hit by a pitch. Lancaster, who has been one of Coastal's hottest hitters over the last month, came through once again with an RBI single that fell just in front of NC State right fielder Brock Deatherage to plate Michael Paez and Zach Remillard to give the Chants a 6-5 lead. Billy Cooke followed with a single to right field to bring home Chadwick to provide 7-5 final score.
Morrison earned his 10th save of the season. The senior had picked up his ninth in CCU's first win over the Wolfpack. In that win, he retired all 11 batters he faced, including three strikeouts. In the championship, he got a pair of ground outs and a fly out to center field to secure the win.
Coastal got off to a quick start as Marks hit the second pitch of the game through the left side of the infield for a single. Paez followed with a two-run home run down the right field line for a 2-0 lead. Paez now has 15 home runs, which ranks second in the nation among shortstops. (Greg Kaiser of IPFW has 17 to lead the nation among shortstops.)
The Chants loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the second but could not capitalize. NC State rode that momentum to trim its deficit to one, 2-1, in the home half as Joe Dunand had a leadoff single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on an Andrew Knizner single.
Coastal got that run back in the top of the fourth. Lancaster singled to right and an error on the play allowed the sophomore to take second. Cooke followed with his second bunt single of the game to move Lancaster to third. Matt Beaird gave CCU a 3-1 lead with an RBI ground out.
The Wolfpack made it a one-run game once again, 3-2, in the bottom of the fourth. With two outs, Chance Shepard and Josh McLain had back-to-back doubles. A wild pitch and walk put runners on the corners and CCU turned to Bobby Holmes out of the bullpen. The sophomore promptly induced an inning-ending ground out to limit the damage.
NC State took advantage of a CCU error to score two unearned runs and take a 4-3 lead in the sixth. Brett Kinneman hit a leadoff double, Chance Shepard walked and Josh McLain reached on an error to load the bases. Holmes got a ground ball and CCU retired Kinneman at the plate, keeping the bases loaded. Holmes got a second ground ball, but CCU could not complete the double play and Shepard scored. Preston Palmeiro then delivered an RBI single to give the `Pack their first lead of the game.
The Wolfpack tacked on a run in the eighth to lead 5-3. McLain was hit by a pitch, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a Mendoza RBI single to center.
All-American Andrew Beckwith, who earned his second win of the regional, improved to 12-1. He started the opener versus St. Mary's and got the win. In the second title game, he worked two innings in relief, all coming prior to the suspension. He allowed three hits and one run with a walk and a strikeout.
For his efforts in leading CCU to the Regional title, Zach Remillard was named Most Outstanding Player, while Mike Morrison, Seth Lancaster and Billy Cooke joined Remillard on the All-Raleigh Regional Team.
Head Coach Gary Gilmore
"It kind speaks in this moment and time to have to play two games against NC State, and that we had to play them split up. It's incredible to have the opportunity to win both of them. I know they have some injuries on their team but regardless they're an unbelievable team and a fantastic opponent. We're very fortunate to win both of those games, and my heart goes out to them because I've been on the other end of that. I know how they feel but they're a class team with great coaches. This regional, with all of the weather challenges, went as well as it could have gone. It was a frustrating time yesterday and I think all of us would have rather played today when you looked up and saw the sun and played without any rain, but we'll take it as it is. I've coached for 31 years and this is the finest group of young men I've been around; they simply refuse to quit and you can watch it in how they play and go about doing what they do. They're going to be great people in life after their baseball careers end just because of their makeup and who they are. They're the closest group of guys I've had in 31 years and that will take them a long way in life."
On emotions of making it back to the super regional:
"When people consider us a mid-major to have all the pieces fall into place and with the challenges there are to make it to a super regional and to Omaha you have to have a lot of upperclassmen to lead the way. A lot of times we lose them in the draft, so you're missing a piece here and there, and not that we haven't lost a little bit here and there this group found a way to overcome it. It's mainly because of that group of juniors and seniors that have been together for so long. They've been the crutch to the whole challenge. It's been since 2010 that I've had a team that has had a brotherhood like this one. Twenty years from now they'll call one another and it'll be like they haven't seen each other for a day or two. They're that close and will never lose touch with one another."
Zach Remillard, 3B
On emotions of advancing to super regional:
"Honestly, I've never felt anything like this. Since day one a lot of us have been here all four years and we've built a brotherhood. We love each other to death and would go to war for each other. It's just a great feeling for not only yourself but everyone on this team. Everyone has worked so hard and loves to be here every day and loves the game of baseball, so I'm excited for our next step in this journey and couldn't be happier or prouder."
On suspending game to next day and emotions when Seth Lancaster got the hit
"Last night was obviously difficult but I think everyone knew the circumstances and no matter what, our season was on the line, and whatever we had to do we were going to go out and get it. That second hit, I was excited when Seth hit that ball. I knew it had a shot to be down, but he was on time, had a quality at bat and hit the ball the right way so it was pretty exciting."
On taking lead and Mike Morrison shutting it down in the bottom of the ninth
"Mike is one of my best friends in the entire world and he deserves it more than anyone. He works hard and does all the right things. There's no doubt in my mind once we got the lead that that game was ours. I love that kid like a brother and never had a doubt in my mind."
Seth Lancaster, 2B
On emotions of advancing to super regional:
"It's a lot of fun. I came in last year as a freshman with a really big junior class, now our senior class. Just seeing how they go about their work every day, whether its extra work in the cage, on the mound or the weight room, it's made we work harder and a better player and just to do my best to help us win and do it for these guys, it's my honor."
G.K. Young, DH
On emotions of advancing to super regional:
"Growing up watching Coastal play baseball basically in my back yard, in 2010 when they made the super regional, that became my dream to put on a Chanticleer jersey and do what we just did. We have a group of seniors that have led this team with all their heart and have pushed us every day. Even on off days they would get us together and make us grind to get better every day."
On sleep last night
"I would be lying if I said I had gotten any sleep. It was the longest night of my life. For me to get a ground ball and get a run then for (Tyler) Chadwick to get hit by a pitch and then for Seth (Lancaster) to get a hit, they had my back and I'm very thankful for that."