Coastal Carolina baseball drops NCAA regional opener to Virginia, 7-2
GREENVILLE, N.C. – Coastal Carolina scored first but saw the No. 2-seeded Virginia Cavaliers post two big innings and plate seven unanswered runs to pull away from the No. 3-seeded Chanticleers 7-2 in the two teams’ first game of the 2022 NCAA Greenville Regional hosted by East Carolina in Greenville, N.C.
The Coastal offense struggled to get the big hit on Friday night, as the Chants were 0-for-7 (.000) at the plate with runners in scoring position and just 2-for-11 (.182) with two out, and left eight runners stranded on base in the defeat.
Across the field in the other dugout, Virginia hit .500 (6-for-12) with runners in scoring position, .400 (6-for-15) with runners on base, and .364 (4-for-11) with two outs in the win.
CCU’s Tyler Johnson (2-for-4) and Graham Brown (2-for-4) led the way with two base hits apiece, while Tanner Garrison (1-for-3, 2B, RBI) had the lone extra-base hit and RBI on the night for the Men in Teal.
The Cavaliers had four players with multiple hits on the night led by Jake Gelof (3-for-4, 2 RBIs, 2 runs) with a team-high three base hits, while Kyle Teel (1-for-4, 2B, 2RBIs, 2 runs) and Casey Saucke (2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBIs) matched Gelof with a game-high two RBIs in the win.
Collegiate Baseball second-team All-American and 2022 Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Year Reid VanScoter (9-3) was handed the loss, as the Cavaliers were able to pick up seven runs, six of which were earned, on nine hits, one walk, and three strikeouts over 4.1 innings of work. Only one ball was hit hard, a double off the left-center field wall by Teel, while the others found green grass either through the infield or in front of the CCU outfielders.
The win went to UVA starter Nate Savino (6-6), as the lefty filled up the strike zone and held the Coastal offense to just two unearned runs on five hits, two walks, and four strikeouts over 6.1 innings pitched.
Coastal broke through on the scoreboard first with the help of two Virginia errors in the top of the second to take a 2-0 lead.
Nick Lucky got the inning started with a one-out walk and then moved up to second on a Dale Thomas single through the left side. Both runners would then move up on a throwing error by the third baseman to load the bases.
Garrison then hit a ground ball to third base but a fielder’s choice and an errant throw to first by the second baseman allowed two Chanticleers to scamper home and put the visiting Chants in front two innings in.
Looking to get a run back in the bottom half of the inning, the Cavaliers put a runner on second on a two-out single and wild pitch, before Vanscoter shut the threat down with a strikeout to send the game to the third inning with the Chants in front 2-0.
VanScoter and the Chants were not as fortunate in the bottom of the third inning, as the Cavaliers pushed across a run on a pair of singles, a walk, and a fielder’s choice before Virginia’s Teel lined a slicing double that stuck into the padding of the wall in left-center field to drive in two more runs.
UVA’s Saucke kept the inning alive with an RBI-single through the left side to plate Teel and pushed the lead to 4-2 after three innings played.
Coastal put the lead-off runner on base for the first time in the game in the top of the fifth inning on a 10-pitch walk by Matt McDermott, yet was unable to push anything across and kept the score at 4-2 in favor of the Cavaliers.
Virginia added to its lead in the bottom of the fifth inning, as back-to-back bloop-base hits, one of which was a double of the end off the bat and just over the head of Christopher Rowan, Jr. at first base followed by a pop up that found the outfield grass in center field, extended the Cavaliers’ lead to 5-2.
After a strikeout and infield error on what should have been out number two of the inning, the Cavaliers picked up back-to-back base hits on a double down the left-field line and a single to third base to add three more runs to push the Cavaliers’ lead to five at 7-2.
However, a big defensive play in left field got the Chanticleers out of the inning, as Lucky caught a fly ball for out number two and then came up firing to throw out the runner from third trying to score at the plate to end the fifth frame.
While the CCU bullpen pitched a 1-2-3, sixth, seventh, and eighth frame, allowing just one base runner in the bottom of the seventh before an inning-ending double play, the offense loaded the bases in the top of the seventh inning and put two more on in the eighth, yet was unable to get the big hit to plate any runs.
Despite the loss, the Coastal bullpen was solid over the final 3.2 innings, as Teddy Sharkey (1.2 IP, 1 hit), Matt Joyce (1.0 IP, 1 hit), and Riley Eikhoff (1.0, 2 K) did not allow a run.
Coastal Carolina (36-19-1) will play the No. 4 seed Coppin State (24-29) tomorrow at 1 p.m. ET in the first elimination game of the 2022 NCAA Greenville Regional.
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