CLEMSON, S.C. -- Despite Tommy La Stella going 3-for-5 with three RBI and Rich Witten's four hits, third-seed and 21st-ranked Coastal Carolina fell 12-7 to top-seed and ninth-ranked Clemson Saturday night at day two of the NCAA Clemson Regional, played at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
Coastal, designated as the home team, will now face second-seed Connecticut Sunday at 3 pm in an elimination game. Coastal defeated UConn 13-1, in the opening round of the Regional. The winner of Sunday's 3 pm game will turn around to face Clemson at 7 pm.
Witten and La Stella, the Chanticleers two and three hole hitters, combined to go 7-of-9 with four runs. Witten was a perfect 4-of-4 with three runs scored. La Stella finished the night with with a home run, double and single.
The Tigers took a 2-0 lead in the first. John Hinson hit the first pitch of the game back up the middle for a single and moved to third on a Phil Pohl double. Brad Miller nearly cleared the bases, but Coastal's Scott Woodward caught his ball with his back against the center field wall and Miller had to settle for an RBI sacrifice fly. Two batters later, Richie Schaffer brought home the second run of the game with an RBI sac fly to left field.
In the home half, Witten had a one-out single and La Stella tied the game at 2-2 with a two-run blast to straight-away center. It marked La Stella's 14th round-tripper of the year, third in two games at this Regional and 28th of his two-year CCU career to rank 10th on the school's all-time list.
Clemson regained the advantage in the second. Chris Epps drew a leadoff walk, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and to third on a long fly ball. Hinson walked to chase CCU starter Keith Hessler. Matt Rein came out of the bullpen and looked to get out of the inning when Pohl hit a ground ball to third. However, an error extended the inning and allowed Epps to score. Miller made the mistake sting more with an RBI single to put the Tigers up 4-2.
The Tigers kept it going in the third when Schaffer hit a one-out, solo home run. Later, Epps would reach on a fielder's choice, steal second and score on an RBI single by Jason Stolz for a 6-2 lead.
Coastal once again answered, scoring two in the bottom of the third to make the score 6-4. Woodward reached on a error and moved to second on a Witten single. La Stella plated Woodward with an RBI ground-rule double to right field. Witten would then score on an RBI ground ball to third by Daniel Bowman.
After a quick fourth inning by both teams, Clemson's Will Lamb started the fifth with a solo home run to right field. In the home half, Coastal's Witten singled up the middle and La Stella beat Clemson's shift with a high-hopping single down the first-base line to put runners on the corners. Bowman followed with a line drive to center, plating Witten and chasing CU starter Dominic Leone.
With two out in the seventh, Lamb singled and scored on Shaffer's RBI double to right-center. In the eighth, Stolz had a leadoff single and, after a sac bunt, Hinson ripped a two-run home run to right field. Pohl followed with single and scored on Lamb's triple down the right field line. Shaffer then singled to center, driving in Lamb and putting the Tigers up 12-5.
The Chants fought to the end. Hayes Orton started the ninth with a single and scored on John Fidanza's double to the right-center field gap. Two batters later, pinch-hitter T.J. Young delivered a RBI double, also to the right-center field gap.
Tiger David Haselden picked up the win to move to 6-1 on the season allowing two runs on five hits while striking out two. Hessler (2-3) suffered the loss working 1.2 innings giving up four runs, three walks and two hits.