From the Big South Conference
ROCK HILL, S.C. – Daniel Bowman crushed two home runs to power No. 1 seed Coastal Carolina Chanticleers past the No. 2 seed Liberty Flames, 8-2, and win the 2010 Royal Purple Big South Baseball Championship, May 29 at The Winthrop Ballpark on the campus of Winthrop University. The Chanticleers win their fourth consecutive Big South baseball tournament championship and Big South-record 11th title overall, and receives the Big South's automatic berth to the NCAA Regional. Coastal Carolina is the first Big South team to win four consecutive championships since the Chanticleers won four consecutive tournament titles from 2001-04. The victory is Coastal's 51st of the season, breaking the Big South single-season record.
Liberty jumped ahead 2-0 in the third inning. Kenneth Negron led off with a double and advanced to third on a fielding error by Coastal left fielder Chance Gilmore. Two pitches later, Trey Wimmer homered down the left field line to give the Flames the early advantage.
Coastal Carolina answered almost immediately in the bottom half. Bowman doubled to left center, Gilmore reached on a bunt single, and Rich Witten belted a three-run home run off the left field scoreboard to put the Chanticleers ahead. Coastal added another run to take a 4-2 lead. In the fourth, Bowman hit a towering blast over the light pole in left center to bring home Rice for a 6-2 lead. Bowman hit his second home run of the game in the sixth, this time over the fence in right center to extend Coastal's lead to 8-2.
Austin Fleet (6-1) was credited with the win after tossing 3.1 innings of scoreless relief. He allowed just two hits during his stint. Coastal starter Matt Rein allowed two runs in his four innings before the Chanticleers' bullpen kept the Flames off the scoreboard the rest of the game. Liberty starter Dustin Umberger (2-5) lasted just 2.1 innings. He gave up four runs on five hits. Negron and Wimmer each had two hits, with Wimmer collected two RBI.
Bowman finished 3-3 with four driven in. He also scored Bowman earned Tournament MVP honors after hitting .294 (5-17) with nine RBI, one double, three home runs, 15 total bases and an .882 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.
OF: Daniel Bowman, Coastal Carolina (MVP)
OF: Chance Gilmore, Coastal Carolina
OF: Kenneth Negron, Liberty
INF: Tommy La Stella, Coastal Carolina
INF: Tyler Bream, Liberty
INF: Mike Mercurio, High Point
INF: Chas Crane, Winthrop
C: Eddie Rohan, Winthrop
DH: Pablo Rosario, High Point
UTL: Rich Witten, Coastal Carolina
P: Anthony Meo, Coastal Carolina
P: Steven Evans, Liberty
It was the eighth meeting between the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the championship game. The No. 1 seed is now 5-3 in such contests, having won in 1998, 2000, 2008, 2009 and now 2010. The Chanticleers are also 5-1 against Liberty in the Big South Championship game. Coastal Carolina receives the Big South's automatic berth to the NCAA Championship Regionals. The national bracket will be announced Monday, May 31 at 12:30pm on ESPN.
Coastal Carolina Head Coach Gary Gilmore "If you watch us play these four days, you saw four different heroes. That's how we played all year. If two or three guys don't do it, there are five or six guys who do. They don't panic. Hopefully that script will continue on for us."