If Coastal Carolina baseball is going to advance out of the Greenville, NC regional, it will have to do things the hard way. On Friday night, the 3rd seeded Chanticleers fell to 2nd seed Virginia 7-2 to drop into the loser’s bracket of the tournament. The Chanticleers will face elimination against Coppin State on Saturday afternoon at 1pm, while the Cavaliers move into the winner’s bracket and a date with top-seeded East Carolina at 7 o’clock. The Pirates blew past the Eagles 17-1 in the opening game on Friday. For CCU, it’s the 8th game this season the Chanticleers have lost while playing on North Carolina soil.
The story of the game was UVA’s pitching and defense. Every time the Chanticleers threatened, the Cavaliers made a key pitch or a clutch catch to stymie CCU’s comeback bid. For example, trailing 7-2 in the 7th inning, Coastal chased Virginia starter Nate Savino by putting runners at second and third with only one out. However, reliever Jay Woolfolk got a strikeout and a groundout to quell the rally.
In the 8th, Coastal once again had a chance to get right back in the game with the same scenario as in the seventh. This time, Woolfolk got a strikeout before left fielder Alex Tappen robbed Graham Brown of two RBIs with a terrific diving catch of a sinking line drive in left field. UVA did commit two errors in the game, allowing both of CCU’s runs to be unearned. But when it mattered, their defense was up to the task.
CCU starting pitcher Reid VanScoter (9-3) suffered the loss, working just four and a third innings, giving up seven runs on nine hits with three strikeouts. Savino (6-6) got the victory, allowing just the two unearned runs on five hits with four strikeouts.
After the game, Coastal head coach Gary Gilmore was non-committal on his pitching plans for Saturday versus Coppin State. The veteran head coach said that while he’s not taking the Eagles lightly, he knows they have to save some quality arms for Sunday to have a chance to win the regional.