Myrtle Beach Regional - Championship Round - Coastal Carolina 8, College of Charleston 7 - Coastal Carolina earns rematch for regional title on Monday
In a storyline that was almost too good to be true, a man named Noel gave Coastal Carolina a new birth of freedom in the Myrtle Beach Regional.
Joyous shouts of "NOEL!" usually accompany Christmas, but on Sunday in the Carolinas, it was Rico Noel who made the Chanticleers a reborn team. Noel's two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth gave Coastal Carolina a walk-off win in a wild seesaw affair that gave college baseball the best finish of the entire regional weekend.
While the "NOEL!" chorus rang out in all its glory for the winners, another cruel wordplay greeted the losing Cougars: The man who gave up the game-deciding blast was brittle... Owen Brittle, a crushed closer who fell to 1-2 after giving up the gopher ball in a game Charleston had led by a 7-6 score.
This was a crazy contest between two Carolina clubs. Charleston had taken a 5-3 lead in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Matt Leeds and an RBI double by Jose Rodriguez. Undaunted, Coastal Carolina took a 6-5 lead with three runs in the bottom half of the seventh. Taylor Motter homered to pull the Chanticleers within one run at 5-4. Then, two Charleston errors enabled Coastal Carolina to take the lead on a bunt single and an RBI groundout.
In the eighth, the Cougars wrested the lead back and forged ahead by a 7-6 margin. Joey Bergman jolted the ballpark with a stunning two-out, two-run homer off CCU pitcher Austin Fleet. The blast, however, turned out to be the second most dramatic homer of the day.
Rico Noel got the last licks... and certainly the last laugh.
Matt Laney got the cheap win for Coastal Carolina by getting the last out in the top of the ninth. Noel's two-run crank gave Laney the "look-what-I-found" decision in the box score.
A few hours before winning a razor-tight game with one out in the bottom of the ninth, Coastal Carolina kept its season alive with a minimum of drama.
The Chanticleers unloaded for 10 runs in the fourth inning and built an 11-0 lead en route to an 18-run romp against the Seawolves, who nevertheless overachieved in this regional by knocking out North Carolina State the day before.
How bad was this beatdown? Coastal Carolina lashed 25 hits on Sunday afternoon, scoring at least three runs apiece against all five Stony Brook relievers. A total of 12 different CCU hitters drove in at least a run, and the Chanticleers scored in each of the last seven innings. After the 10-run fourth which chased Stony Brook starter Adam Brown (5-6), CCU never led by fewer than nine runs.
Reliever Jackson Geary (1-0) gave up one earned run in four innings to get the win for Coastal Carolina. Brown took the loss for the Seawolves.