Gamecocks Punch Ticket to Omaha with 10-9 Win over Coastal Carolina
June 13, 2010
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - Christian Walker's two-out three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning lifted South Carolina to a 10-9 victory over Coastal Carolina sending the Gamecocks to the school's ninth College World Series in Omaha, Neb. The Gamecocks are 48-15 on the year while Coastal ends its season with a 55-10 record. It was a tight Super Regional with both games decided by a run. This was South Carolina's eighth NCAA Super Regional appearance in the last 11 years. The Gamecocks last reached Omaha in 2004.
A back and forth affair took place on Sunday afternoon at BB&T Coastal Field with the result never determined until the end. With the Gamecocks trailing by a pair of runs, South Carolina mounted a two-out rally against Coastal closer Austin Fleet with a walk to Jackie Bradley Jr. and a double by Adrian Morales. That set the stage for Walker, who after taking a pair of strikes, launched his seventh home run of the season giving the Gamecocks a one-run lead. With Gamecock reliever Matt Price on the mound, Carolina closed game out as Price retired all three batters he faced including a ground out by Rich Witten to end the game and setting off a dog pile on the mound by the Gamecock players.
Ethan Carter earned the win for Carolina after allowing just one run on two hits in 1.1 innings of relief. Price's perfect ninth inning helped him earn his 10th save of the year. Coastal Carolina reliever Austin Fleet suffered the loss and ends his season with a 6-2 record. He allowed three runs on three hits in 2.1 innings of work with three strikeouts and two walks.
It was a hot, warm afternoon at BB&T Coastal Field with both teams creating numerous scoring chances throughout the game. Rico Noel gave Coastal Carolina a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning with a solo home run off of Dyson. Noel knocked the first pitch he saw from Carolina starter Sam Dyson over the left field wall for his 12th home run of the year. South Carolina answered though in the bottom half and scored twice to take a 2-1 lead. Evan Marzilli led off with a double to left center. Whit Merrifield followed and knocked a slow roller to shortstop Taylor Motter. On the play, Merrifield reached on an infield single but Motter's throw was low and past first baseman Rich Witten allowing Marzilli to score from second base. With Merrifield on second base, the Gamecocks scored their second run as Jackie Bradley Jr. extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a double over left fielder Chance Gilmore.
CCU regained the lead in the top of the second inning batting around to score four runs and take a 5-2 lead. Taylor Motter tied the game as he stroked a one-out solo homer to left field, his 12th home run of the year. After a double by Daniel Bowman, the Chanticleers regained the lead on Rich Witten's RBI single to left field. That ended the game for Dyson, as the Gamecocks went to the bullpen for right-hander Jose Mata. With one out and Witten still on first base, Scott Woodward was hit by a pitch and Noel walked to load the bases. Tommy La Stella then drove a two-run single to the gap in left center giving the Chanticleers a three-run cushion.
South Carolina fought back and tied the game at 5-5 in the bottom of the third with three runs and took advantage of a pair of Chanticleer errors in the process. All the scoring came with two outs as Morales drew a walk and Christian Walker reached base on third baseman Scott Woodward's fielding error. Adam Matthews delivered for the Gamecocks as he roped a RBI double down the left field line that plated home Morales with Walker also scoring as left fielder Chance Gilmore misplayed the double, also allowing Matthews to reach third base on the fielding error. Carolina then tied it on Kyle Enders' RBI single up the middle.
Coastal regained the lead in the top of the fourth with a single run. With two outs and Rich Witten on second base, the Chanticleers caught their own breaks with a hit by pitch to Rico Noel followed by consecutive walks to Tommy La Stella as well as Jose Iglesias that plated home Witten. That lead was extended in the top of the sixth to 7-5 as Adam Rice led off with a single and with two outs scored on Tommy La Stella's RBI single to right field.
South Carolina answered in the bottom half of the sixth to tie the game at 7-7. Bobby Haney drew a leadoff walk and after Scott Wingo's sacrifice bunt would score on pinch hitter Nick Ebert's RBI base hit to right center. With pinch runner Robert Beary on first base, the Gamecocks caught a break against CCU with the fourth error by the Chanticleers as first baseman Rich Witten could not control a pickoff attempt allowing Beary to reach second. With two outs and runners on the corners, Beary scored as a throwing error by third baseman Scott Woodward allowed the Gamecocks to even the game.
CCU struck again in the top of the seventh inning as Bowman launched a two-out solo home run to left field that gave Coastal an 8-7 lead. They would increase the advantage to 9-7 in the top of the eighth as Scott Woodward reached base with one out, stole second base and after a two-out intentional walk to Tommy La Stella, would score on Jose Iglesias' RBI base hit to left field.
South Carolina finished with a 13-11 advantage in hits. Haney had a perfect day at the plate going 3-for-3 with a run scored. Walker was 2-for-5 with two runs and the big three RBI. Adam Matthews also had two hits. Eight of the nine Gamecock starters tallied at least one hit in the game. Coastal was led by two-hit days from La Stella, Bowman and Witten. La Stella drove in three runs, with Iglesias driving in two as well. Bowman and Witten scored two runs apiece also for Coastal.