Chanticleers Strut to Omaha: Coastal Beats LSU 4-3
Not even a possum could stop the strut of a Chanticleer.
Michael Paez hit a chopper over the head of third baseman Chris Reid with none out in the ninth inning as Coastal Carolina earned it's first ever trip to the College World Series with a 4-3 win over the #8 national seed LSU Tigers Sunday night at Alex Box Stadium.
Anthony Marks drew a walk off LSU reliever Hunter Newman (1-1) to lead off the ninth and stole second on the first pitch. Paez then got the game winner on the very next pitch, setting off a wild celebration of teal in the infield.
LSU had tied the score in the ninth inning without benefit of a hit
Cole Freeman hit a routine ground ball to start off the inning, but Cameron Pearcey, starting his first game since March, threw wildly to first base. With Antoine Duplantis at the plate, reliever Bobby Holmes (6-2) threw a wild pitch to move Freeman to second. Duplantis walked and Jake Fraley bunted to third. The throw took Pearcey, who was covering the bag, into the baseline and Fraley jarred the ball loose on the throw allowing Freeman to score the tying run as Pearcey was charged with his second error of the inning. Kramer Robertson then hit back to Holmes for the first out and Greg Deichmann was walked intentionally to load the bases. But Holmes got Brody Wofford, pinch hitting for Jordan Romero, to strike out, and Beau Jordan lined to left to end further damage and set the stage for the bottom of the inning drama.
The Chanticleers (49-16) got on the board in the first inning when Marks led off with an infield hit and went to second on a deep fly ball. He took third when LSU starter Jared Poche uncorked a wild pitch. Connor Owings walked to put runners at the corners. Poche got Zach Remillard on a swinging third strike, but Marks scored when the ball got away from LSU catcher Michael Papierski. G. K. Young's single Owings to make it 2-0.
The Tigers (45-21) got a run back in the third off CCU starter Alex Cunningham when Reid walked and was balked to second. After Papierski grounded out, Cole Freeman doubled to get LSU on the board. Duplantis then hit a drive to right that wound up over Owings' head, but Freeman had to hesitate to see if the ball would be caught and got no farther than third. That proved costly when Fraley popped up and Robertson fouled out to end the inning.
The Chanticleers added a run in the sixth when Young singled and was sacrificed to second by Billy Cooke. Kevin Woodall then greeted reliever Parker Bugg with a base hit, scoring Young to give CCU a 3-1 lead.
LSU got the run back in its half of the seventh when Reid singled with one out and Papierski singled him to second. Freeman popped out, but Duplantis doubled inside the third base bag to score Reid and send Papierski to third. But Cunningham got Fraley to ground out to prevent further damage.
LSU had a chance to tie the game in the eighth when Robertson led off with a single. Deichmann forced him at second, but Romero reached on Remillard's throwing error. That brought in Holmes who struck out Beau Jordan. Reid walked to load the bases, but Holmes got Papierski to hit into a force play, stranding three runners.
Coastal Carolina, who will join the Sun Belt Conference on July 1, will play either Florida or Florida State in its first game. TCU and Texas Tech are also on the Chanticleers' side of the bracket.