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Baseball Walks Off with a 3-2 Win over Radford in 10 Innings

Baseball Walks Off with a 3-2 Win over Radford in 10 Innings

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CONWAY, S.C. – Sophomore Rico Noel (Lawton, Okla./Lawton) hit a leadoff walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th inning to lift the 19th-ranked Coastal Carolina University baseball team (27-7, 7-2 Big South) to a 3-2 victory over Radford (14-12, 7-4 Big South) April 10 in the Big South series opener of a three-game set.   Noel ended the wild game by taking Jason Patton’s 1-2 pitch over the wall in left field. It was Noel’s fourth home run of the season and Coastal Carolina’s first walk-off home run since Matt Rademacher’s three-run home run in a 12-9 win over Liberty April 28, 2007.   The game started as a pitcher’s duel between Coastal Carolina sophomore Cody Wheeler (Spotsylvania, Va./Spotsylvania) and Radford’s Aerik Taylor. Wheeler pitched the first seven-plus innings for the Chanticleers, striking out 10 (tying a career high) and allowing six hits and two runs. Taylor was equally as effective, allowing six hits, one run and striking out four in seven-plus innings of work.   Coastal Carolina jumped on the board in the first. Noel walked, stole second and would score on a single from senior David Anderson (Lexington, S.C./White Knoll). Radford answered with a run in the top of the second. Robert Lamas singled, went to second on a sacrifice bunt from Mario Duarte, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a groundout by Brett Mollenhauer.    Radford had runners on first and second with one out in the sixth, but Wheeler got Lamas to fly out and Duarte to ground out to end that threat. Freshman Daniel Bowman (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) led off the seventh with a single, but was doubled up on a pop out bunt from classmate Tommy Winegardner (St. Leonard, Md./Riverdale Baptist).   Radford did break through in the eighth. Jeff Kemp led off the inning with a double. Junior Nick McCully (Lakeland, Fla./Santa Fe Catholic) came in and got Big South Preseason Player of the Year Alex Gregory to fly out, but Kemp would move to second. McCully induced Nick Minter into a pop out, but Lamas singled through the left side to score Kemp and give the Highlanders a 2-1 lead.   In the bottom of the eighth, Coastal Carolina had runners on the corners when Noel walked, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from junior Adam Rice (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Elgin C.C.) and stole third. Radford would walk Anderson with two outs to get to junior Jose Iglesias (Miami, Fla./St. John’s). Iglesias would pop out to end the inning.    Ben Toth would walk with one out in the top of the ninth. He would move to second on a bunt single from Tyren Rivers. Runners would be on the corners with two out after Reggie Keen grounded into a fielder’s choice. Radford then tried a double steal and freshman Taylor Motter (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Palm Beach Gardens) would throw to the plate to get Toth to end the threat.   Bowman walked to lead off the ninth. Redshirt sophomore Dustin King (Myrtle Beach, S.C./Carolina Forest) pinch hit and laid down a successful sacrifice bunt. That brought up Motter, who singled to left to score Bowman and tie the game at two.   Kemp and Gregory led off the top of the 10th with singles, but McCully would bear down and strike out the side, setting up Noel’s heroics.   McCully earned his third win of the season, striking out four in three innings of relief. The loss fell to Patton, who went to 0-2 on the season after allowing two hits and two runs in two innings.   Motter and Bowman had two hits apiece for the Chanticleers. For Radford, Kemp, Gregory, Toth and Lamas had two hits apiece.   The two teams will finish the series with a doubleheader Saturday, April 11 at 12 p.m., in Watson Stadium/Vrooman Field.