Coastal Carolina, others put on the ropes
Coastal Carolina is looking for answers for the first time in a while.
The Chanticleers entered the Myrtle Beach Regional as heavy favorites. But after suffering a tough loss to College of Charleston on Saturday, the Chants must face Stony Book in an elimination game.
In the meantime, the Chants also must try to find out why exactly Charleston has had their number this season. The teams have met three times this season. College of Charleston is 3-0 after Saturday’s contest.
Coastal’s showing against Charleston leads our lowlights. But there were plenty of highlights also on Day No. 2 of NCAA regional action.
UCLA sophomore pitcher Trevor Bauer tossed an absolute gem as the Bruins defeated LSU and advanced to the Los Angeles Regional title game. Minnesota beat New Mexico to advance to the Fullerton Regional title game, while Clemson starting pitcher Casey Harman and Georgia Tech starting pitcher Deck McGuire led their teams to important wins against Auburn and Alabama, respectively.
We take an inside look at Saturday’s highlights and lowlights.
• Georgia Tech
Big-time pitchers step up in big-time situations. That is what Georgia Tech ace Deck McGuire did on Saturday as he guided the Jackets to an impressive 5-2 win against Jimmy Nelson and Alabama. McGuire, who will be a first-round pick in Monday’s MLB draft, struck out six and allowed just two runs in eight innings of work. Tech now is in the driver’s seat to win the Atlanta Regional.
There’s no question Clemson heard all about Auburn’s offense leading up to Saturday’s crucial contest in the Auburn Regional. But CU starting pitcher Casey Harman did all the talking in a 5-2 win against Auburn. Harman struck out eight batters and allowed just two runs and five hits in a complete game performance against AU. Clemson now is in good position to win the regional.
No Thomas Royse, no problem for the Cardinals. With Royce under the weather so far this weekend, the Cardinals looked to freshman Matt Koch to put together a solid start against Vanderbilt. He didn’t disappoint, allowing just a run on three hits in six innings. Reliever Neil Holland also rose to the occasion for the Cards. UL defeated the ‘Dores 7-1 and continued to have their number in the postseason.
• Florida State
Perhaps FSU starting pitcher Sean Gilmartin was motivated by the talk of Oregon’s pitching staff leading up to the Norwich Regional. Gilmartin struck out eight batters and allowed just three runs in seven innings in a 6-4 win over the Ducks. With the win, the Seminoles are in fantastic shape to advance to an NCAA Super Regional.
Looking for a candidate to be compared to the 2008 Fresno State team that won the national title in amazing fashion? We’ve found your team in the Golden Gophers. Minnesota punched its ticket to the Fullerton Regional title game with a 6-4 win against New Mexico on Saturday. Minnesota reliever Scott Matyas struck out eight straight hitters to finish the contest.
• Miami (Fla.)
Who knew Hurricanes first baseman Scott Lawson was such a power hitter? Lawson entered Saturday’s contest against Texas A&M with six homers. He left the field with nine after hitting three homers against the Aggies in a dominating 14-1 win to take control of the Coral Gables Regional. It would be a surprise if the Hurricanes squandered the regional.
UCLA starting pitcher Trevor Bauer was so good LSU coach Paul Mainieri said after the game it was the best performance he had seen this season. Bauer was masterful against the Tigers, striking out 11 batters and allowing just three runs on seven hits in eight innings in a 6-3 victory to advance to the regional title game. Amazingly, UCLA still has not used fantastic pitchers Rob Rasmussen and Garret Claypool.
• College of Charleston
Coastal Carolina starting pitcher Anthony Meo entered Saturday’s contest against College of Charleston with fantastic numbers and a wealth of confidence. He left the contest after just 2 2/3 innings as the Cougars roughed him up for 11 runs on eight hits. Many believed the Chants had the easiest regional entering the weekend. Now the opportunistic Cougars have taken control.
Some didn’t believe the Phoenix deserved to be in the postseason. Those critics might’ve had a point. The Phoenix had a short-lived postseason appearance after dropping a dismal 13-7 decision to Mercer on Saturday. Elon starting pitcher Ken Ferrer was touched up for seven runs in just three innings. The Elon bullpen didn’t exactly fare well, either.
• Florida International
FIU infielder Garrett Wittels extended his hitting streak to 56 games against Dartmouth on Saturday but will have to wait until next season to continue the streak. FIU’s pitching once again was atrocious in a 15-9 loss to Dartmouth. FIU starting pitcher Aaron Arboleya allowed six runs in 2 1/3 innings. Other pitchers didn’t fare well, either.
How many of you had Stanford going 0-2 in the postseason? Chances are it’s not many. The Cardinal entered the Fullerton Regional as arguably the most talented team after the Titans. However, their season came to an end on Saturday with a 6-5 loss to the Titans in an elimination game. Stanford starting pitcher Brett Mooneyham allowed six runs in 5 1/3 innings.
• Coastal Carolina
The Chanticleers still have time to come back this weekend, but their performance against College of Charleston on Saturday was horrible. Coastal starting pitcher Anthony Meo had his worst outing of the season, and the offense never was able to get rolling against the Cougars. The Chanticleers still can’t seem to master the Cougars, and now Coastal will need to beat Charleston twice, if it beats Stony Brook first.
Thanks for showing up this weekend, Golden Bears. After getting pounded by North Carolina in opening-round action in the Norman Regional, the Golden Bears’ woes continued on Saturday with a 9-8 loss to Oral Roberts in an elimination game. How Cal played this weekend was no surprise considering how it finished the regular season.
• Texas A&M
The Aggies entered the Coral Gables Regional as one of the nation’s hottest teams and blasted FIU in opening-round action on Friday. However, the Aggies took a step back on Saturday in a 14-1 loss to Miami. A&M starting pitcher Ross Stripling allowed six runs on eight hits in just three innings. The Aggies still have a chance to win the regional but must get several solid pitching performances the rest of the way.
• Kent State
The Flashes certainly weren’t expected to do much in the NCAA postseason, but they put together a pair of terrible performances in the Los Angeles Regional. KSU was eliminated from the tournament with a 19-9 loss to UC Irvine on Saturday. Kent allowed 34 runs in just two games in Los Angeles.
• N.C. State
Perhaps the Wolfpack were ready to head home for the summer. The Wolfpack played an uninspired brand of baseball in a 6-2 loss to Stony Brook in an elimination game on Saturday. North Carolina State starting pitcher Anthony Tzamtzis allowed six runs on just three hits in less than an inning of work. Stony Brook starter Tyler Johnson, meanwhile, struck out 10 batters in eight innings.