Courtesy: Coastal Carolina Athletics
CONWAY – For the second consecutive day, Coastal Carolina baseball set an on-campus attendance record as 3,777 helped the 2016 team celebrate its national championship with a ceremony and ring presentation. However, the visiting Catamounts from Western Carolina spoiled the day with a 5-4 victory over the Chanticleers Saturday afternoon at Springs Brooks Stadium.
The ceremony was led by emcee Kaylee Hartung from ESPN and featured videos from Karl Ravech (ESPN), and Kyle Peterson (ESPN) as well as CCU's own Mike Tolbert (Carolina Panthers), Josh Norman (Washington Redskins) and actor Michael Kelly (currently on House of Cards). There was also a congratulatory video from children at Nebraska Medical that Coastal visited while in Omaha.
The game itself was a back-and-forth affair with the Catamounts scoring once in the eighth inning to secure the win.
Western Carolina jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Leadoff hitter Matthew Koehler singled and moved to third on a Brett Pope double. Cleanup hitter Matt Smith brought home Koehler with an RBI ground out. Consecutive walks loaded the bases and Pope scored on a sacrifice fly by Andrew Bullock. However, Jason Bilous followed with a strikeout to limit the damage.
In the fourth, Coastal broke up the no-hitter and shutout bids with three runs on three hits to take a 3-2 lead. Wood Myers started things with a single and Billy Cooke followed with a double. Seth Lancaster drew a walk to load the bases, but Western Carolina pitcher Bryan Sammons recorded back-to-back strikeouts. However, facing a full count, Kieton Rivers walked to force home Myers. Cory Wood followed with a two-run single to left field.
Western answered with two runs in the top of the fifth to regain the lead, 4-3. With bases loaded, Bryson Bowman was hit by a pitch to force home J.D. Long to tie the game 3-3. Austin Kitchen came out of the bullpen and induced a double play, which allowed a run to score for a 4-3 lead. Kitchen then recorded a strikeout to end the inning.