RALEIGH, N.C. – Coastal Carolina pounded out 12 hits, but it was the pitching by Alex Cunningham and All-American Mike Morrison that led the second-seeded Chanticleers to a 4-0 win over top-seed North Carolina State in a game that started Saturday night, was suspended early Sunday morning and resumed Sunday afternoon at Doak Field.
Coastal Carolina (46-15) will play the winner of Navy and NC State (36-21) in the NCAA Raleigh Regional final on Monday at 1 pm. Should CCU lose that game, the same teams will play a second championship game at 6 pm.
The game spanned two days. First, it started two-and-a-half hours late (9:26 pm) Saturday night due to Navy and Saint Mary's going into extra innings. The game was halted in the top of the ninth at 12:32 am with Michael Paez on first and one out before heavy rain and lightning forced the game be suspended until Sunday afternoon. Twelve hours later, the game resumed Sunday at 12:32 pm and ended at 12:51 pm. While the game time was three hours and 22 minutes, the time between first pitch and final out was 15 hours and 22 minutes.
Cunningham (9-3) was masterful on the mound and worked his way out of several jams in a tight, 1-0 contest. He pitched 5.1 scoreless innings while allowing four hits and two walk with six strikeouts.
Mike Morrison earned his ninth save of the season as he pitched 2.2 scoreless innings prior to the game being suspended, then returned to the mound 12 hours later when the game resumed to work a 1-2-3 ninth to close out the game. Overall, he retired all 11 batters he faced with three strikeouts.
While eight Chanticleers recorded at least one hit, it was Zach Remillard that shined for Coastal on offense. The senior accounted for three of CCU's four runs as he was 3-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored. He helped seal the game with an RBI double and scoring in the eighth inning. Then, when the game resumed, he delivered an RBI single provide the 4-0 cushion.
Connor Owings and Seth Lancaster each added two hits while G.K. Young and Kevin Woodall Jr. had CCU's other two RBI.
Coastal jumped out to 1-0 lead in the top of the first. The first three batters – Anthony Marks walk, Paez walk and Owings bunt single – all reached to load the bases to start the game. Two batters later, Young lined an RBI single through the left side of the infield. However, NC State escaped further damage by turning an inning-ending double play.
While both teams posted zeroes on the scoreboard in the middle innings, both teams had their chances as Coastal left 10 baserunners and the Wolfpack seven.
In the third inning, Cunningham recorded two quick strikeouts before allowing a walk and single. He escaped by inducing an inning-ending ground out. In the fifth, the Wolfpack had runners on second and third with one out but Cunningham rallied to induce a pop out and recorded a strikeout. In the sixth, Cunningham allowed a leadoff double and the runner moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. Coastal called on Morrison, who promptly got a pair of pop outs to second base to keep the score 1-0 in CCU's favor.
Coastal also came up empty on numerous occasions, hitting doubles in the second and third innings without scoring. In the sixth, CCU had a leadoff single, but was erased on a double play. Then, in the seventh, Billy Cooke doubled and Matt Beaird was hit by a pitch with one out. NC State escaped by getting a fielder's choice ground out and pop out.
However, in the eighth, Coastal scored two runs to lead 3-0. Owings drew a leadoff walk and scored on an RBI double to right center field to put the Chants up 2-0. Remillard took third on a wild pitch and came around to score on an RBI single to left by Woodall for the 3-0 advantage.
The game was halted in the top of the ninth at 12:32 am due to lightning and rain with Paez on first and one out.
When play resumed, exactly 12 hours later (12:32 pm), NC State's Karl Keglovits recorded a strikeout, but Paez stole second on the play to set-up an RBI single by Remillard for the 4-0 lead.