After winning Sun Belt, Coastal’s road to Omaha begins in a familiar place
Coastal Carolina baseball defeated the Troy Trojans 11-6 in Lafayette, Louisiana to win the 2018 Sun Belt Conference Tournament, clinching an automatic bid to the 2018 NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament and being selected to host an NCAA Regional.
After a shocking exit in last season’s Sun Belt Tournament that led to the Chanticleers missing out on being a part of the field of 64 in last year’s NCAA Tournament. This year, the Chanticleers were not going to be denied again.
The Chanticleers began their championship journey with a 12-2 thrashing of Texas-Arlington on Wednesday, May 23.
Coastal had a 1-0 lead going into the bottom of the sixth inning and that is when then runs began to pour in for the Chanticleers. An RBI single from Zach Biermann and wild pitch made it 3-0 in favor of the Chanticleers before Keaton Weisz smashed a two-run shot to left field to make it 5-0 after six innings. Coastal would add four more runs in the next inning to make it 9-0.
Texas-Arlington would score twice in the eighth inning but the Chanticleers would keep pouring on the runs as Zach Biermann hit his 12th home run of the season to make it 12-2. Per Sun Belt Tournament regulations, games are stopped when a team is leading by 10 or more after seven innings (except the championship game).
The 12-2 win over Texas-Arlington was Coastal Carolina’s first postseason win since final game of the 2016 College World Series.
Coastal’s next opponent would be South Alabama and the Chanticleers showed no mercy again, defeating the Jaguars 16-4.
The third and fourth innings proved to be challenging for the Chanticleers as they would score three runs at the top of the third and fourth inning. However, the Jaguars responded two runs in the bottom of the third and fourth, making it 6-4 in favor of the Chanticleers.
Coastal once again scored three runs in the top of the fifth inning and the pitching in the bottom of the inning kept the Jaguar offense at bay and the Chanticleers led 9-4 after five innings.
The Chanticleers scored twice in the top of the seventh and then sealed the win in the top of the ninth with five more runs, capped off with a grand slam by Parker Chavers to make it 16-4.
The Chanticleers would get a break on Friday, May 25 while South Alabama had to battle Georgia Southern in an elimination game that the Jaguars would win 12-0 in seven innings.
This set up a rematch of Thursday’s game. If South Alabama won, it would force a winner-take-all game to see who would advance to the Sun Belt title game. All Coastal Carolina had to do is win.
And win they did, defeating the Jaguars 3-1 to advance to the program’s first ever Sun Belt Championship game.
Matt Beaird and Woody Woodall would both record RBI singles in the fourth inning to put Coastal up 2-0 before a near-four-hour rain delay happened.
The Jaguars would get a run back in the sixth inning but Seth Lancaster gave the Chanticleers an insurance in the eighth inning to make it 3-1 and help the Chanticleers advance to the Sun Belt Championship game.
Coastal Carolina took on Troy in the Sun Belt Championship game on Sunday, May 27.
After going down 1-0 in the first inning, Coastal scored two runs each in the second and third inning for a 4-1 lead. The Trojans cut the Coastal lead in half in the top of the fifth inning but the Chanticleers poured on the runs in the bottom of the inning, scoring five to make it 9-4.
The Trojans would not give up though as they would make it 9-6 going into the bottom of the eighth inning. However, Seth Lancaster and Woody Woodall would each hit a solo home run to give the Chanticleers an 11-6 lead and Coastal held on from their to win the Sun Belt Championship.
The Chanticleers improved to 42-17 on the season and are currently on an 11-1 run since they lost back-to-back games to Louisiana-Lafayette in early May.
Coastal Carolina will now host an NCAA Regional for the fourth time. It will be the first time since 2008 that the NCAA Regional will be on Coastal Carolina’s campus and the first time since 2010 that the Chanticleers will be a regional host.
The 2018 NCAA Conway Regional will be held from Friday, June 1 to Monday, June 4. For ticket information, visit www.goccusports.com.
The full field of 64 teams that will participate in the 2018 NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament will be unveiled on Monday, May 28 at 12 p.m.