Coastal Carolina Wins Big South Baseball Championship
ASHEVILLE, N.C. Â No. 1 Coastal Carolina used timely hitting and stellar pitching to defeat No. 2 Winthrop, 7-1 and win the 2009 Royal Purple Big South Conference Baseball Championship, May 23 at historic McCormick Field in Asheville, N.C. The Chanticleers win their third consecutive Big South baseball tournament championship and Big South-record 10th title overall, and receives the Big South’s automatic berth to the NCAA Regional. Coastal Carolina is the first Big South team to win three consecutive championships since the Chanticleers won four consecutive tournament titles from 2001-04.
Starting pitchers Nick McCully (Coastal Carolina) and Matteo D’Angelo (Winthrop) Â both working on short rest, matched zeroes the first three innings. After McCully set down Winthrop in the top of the fourth, Adam Rice doubled to open the Chanticleers bottom half. David Anderson followed, and delivered D’Angelo’s 0-1 pitch over the ballpark’s 36-foot blue monster wall in right field to put Coastal Carolina up, 2-0. It was Anderson’s 20th home run of the season, becoming the first player in Big South history with two 20-homer seasons, as well as his school-record breaking 49th career home run. The Chanticleers tacked on another two runs in the fifth to move ahead 4-0.
Winthrop pushed across its first run of the game in the sixth to end Coastal Carolina’s string of 16 consecutive innings without allowing a run. Bryn Henderson doubled to left and moved to third on Eddie Tisdale’s ground out. Eddie Rohan’s tapper to first scored Henderson to make the score 4-1.
Coastal Carolina added an insurance run in the seventh and two more in the eighth, including Tyler Bortnick’s inside-the-park home run.
McCully, who pitched six innings Wednesday against VMI, tossed four innings Saturday. He allowed just one hit and finished the tournament without allowing an earned run in 10 innings of work. Matt Rein was credited with the win Saturday after tossing 2.2 innings in relief. He permitted one run on three hits. Bobby Gagg closed out the final 2.1 innings to notch his fifth save of the season.
Bortnick and Jose Iglesias collected two hits each, while Anderson, Rico Noel and Scott Woodward each drove in two runs. For Winthrop, six players had one hit each. D’Angelo, who pitched seven innings Thursday against VMI, suffered the loss after allowing five hits and three runs in 4.1 innings.
Coastal Carolina allowed just five runs over its final 27 innings of the tournament.
It was the seventh meeting between the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the championship game. The No. 1 seed is now 4-3 in such contests, having won in 1998, 2000, 2008 and now 2009. Coastal Carolina also is 4-2 against Winthrop in the Big South Championship game.
Anderson, whose 79 RBI are tied for fourth-most in a single-season in Big South history, earned Tournament MVP honors after hitting .500 (9-18) with seven RBI, two doubles, one triple, one home run and an .889 slugging percentage for the tournament. The All-Tournament Team appears below and is comprised of four infielders, three outfielders, two pitchers, one catcher, one designated hitter and a utility position. In case of ties, additional players are honored.
C: Errol Hollinger, Liberty
INF: David Anderson, Coastal Carolina (MVP)
INF: Eddie Tisdale, Winthrop
INF: P.J. Jimenez, Liberty
INF: A.J. Yoder, VMI and Bryn Henderson, Winthrop
OF: Bill Manion, High Point
OF: Sean Sullivan, Winthrop
OF: Rico Noel, Coastal Carolina
DH: Eddie Rohan, Winthrop
UTL: Alex Gregory, Radford
P: Nick McCully, Coastal Carolina
P: Robert Lake, Winthrop and Austin Fleet, Coastal Carolina
Coastal Carolina receives the Big South’s automatic berth to the NCAA Championship Regionals. The national bracket will be announced Monday, May 25 at 12:30pm on ESPN.
Coastal Carolina Head Coach Gary Gilmore
“We went back to playing Coastal baseball. We pitched and played with intensity. We played well defensively. We started manufacturing runs and getting a timely hit here or there. We basically started playing with passion. That’s how we have to play. We’re talented but we can’t toss the hats out and expect to win.”
Winthrop Head Coach Joe Hudak
“We had our backs against the wall since the start of the tournament. We didn’t swing the bats well enough against Coastal Â We hit some balls hard, but Coastal Carolina did a good job positioning their players.”