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No. 1 Seed Coastal Carolina Records One-Run Victory over No. 3 Seed Liberty in Big South Championship Game
A pair of two-run innings, the sixth and seventh, helped the top-seeded Coastal Carolina Chanticleers erase an early deficit and record a 6-5 victory over No. 3 Liberty Flames in the title game of the Big South Baseball Championship, Saturday afternoon, at the Winthrop Ballpark.
With the setback, the Flames complete the season with a 36-25 mark. For the third-straight season, Liberty won 30-plus contests, only the second time in the program's 33-year history. The Chanticleers, ranked No. 11 nationally, move to 48-11 and receive the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament next weekend.
Liberty opened the scoring with a run in its first at bat. Patrick Gaillard (Sr., SS, Taylors, S.C.) singled with one out and moved to second on a walk to Garrett Young (Jr., CF, Fountain Valley, Calif.). After moving to third on a fly out, Gaillard scored on a two-out single to right field by Cody Brown (R-Jr., 1B, Boca Raton, Fla.).
In the bottom of the frame, Coastal Carolina loaded the bases with two outs. However, pitcher Tim John (Sr., RHP, Linwood, N.J.), making his first start of the year, retire the next Chanitcleer hitter to end the threat.
The teams exchanged runs in the second. David Giammaresi (R-Jr., 3B, Coral Springs, Fla.) led off the inning with his fourth home run of the season, a liner over the right field wall for a 2-0 Liberty edge. Coastal Carolina capitalized on an error in the bottom of the frame to plate its first run of the contest. Tyler Bortnick reached on a fielding miscue and scored on a two-out single by David Sappelt, cutting the Flame advantage to 2-1.
The Chanticleers knotted the game at 2-2 in the third with another two-out run. Tommy Baldridge walked with one out and tied the contest on a single by Derek Martin.
Liberty went back on top in the fifth. Gaillard opened the inning with a single up the middle. Young followed by ripping a double into the left field corner to plate Gaillard and give the Flames a 3-2 advantage. A grounder by P.K. Keller (Jr., LF, Clearwater, Fla.) then brought home Young, giving Liberty a two-run lead, 4-2.
Coastal Carolina tied the back-and-forth contest in the sixth. Martin led off the frame with single. And, two batters later, Bortnick hit a two-run home run over the left field fence to knot the contest for the second time.
In the seventh, Dom Duggin belted his ninth home run of the season to lead off the inning, giving the Chanticleers their first advantage of the day, 5-4. After a Liberty pitching change, Coastal Carolina added another run with three singles. The last single by Doc Doyle brought home the run for a 6-4 Coastal Carolina edge.
Liberty rallied in the eighth, getting the tying run to second, but could only cut its deficit to 6-5. Cody Brown (R-So., 1B, Boca Raton, Fla.) began the inning with a double and moved to third on fly out. Brown then scored on a ground out by Phil John (Sr., RF, Linwood, N.J.). Giammaresi followed with a double inside the left-field line and Errol Hollinger (So., C, Upland, Calif.) walked. However, reliever Pete Andrelczyk retired the next batter to end the two-out threat.
Tim John takes the loss, falling to 4-3, as the right-hander lasted 6 1/3 innings, allowing five runs, four earned, on eight hits. Dustin Umberger (So., RHP, Hummelstown, Pa.) Wednesday's night game winner, pitched the final 1 2/3, yielding one run on three hits. Coastal Carolina reliever Travis Risser, the second of four hurlers for the Chanticleers, picked up the win, giving up a run on one hit in three innings of work. Nick McNully earned his fourth save by ending the Liberty rally in the eight and pitching a perfect ninth.
Brown paced the Flames by going 3-for-4 with a RBI. All-Tournament infielder Gaillard and Giammaresi also had posted multiple-hit games with two hits apiece. Tournament MVP Baldridge went 3-for-3 with a walk and all-tournament infielder Martin added a 3-for-4 afternoon for the Chanticleers.
Five Liberty players were selected to the all-conference team. Gaillard, Keller, Young and Umberger were joined by pitcher Michael Solbach on the squad.
2007 Big South All-Tournament Team
Tommy Baldridge – Tournament MVP
Patrick Gaillard – Infielder – Liberty
Tyler Bortnick – Infielder – Coastal Carolina
Adam Vrable – Infielder – Coastal Carolina
Derek Martin – Infielder – Coastal Carolina
P.K. Keller – Outfielder – Liberty
Garrett Young – Outfielder – Liberty
Tommy Baldridge – Outfielder – Coastal Carolina
Matt Rademacher – Catcher – Coastal Carolina
Nick McCully – Utility – Coastal Carolina
Phil Carey – Designated hitter – Winthrop
Bobby Gagg – Pitcher – Coastal Carolina
Jonathan Settle – Pitcher – Winthrop
Michael Solbach – Pitcher – Liberty
Dustin Umberger – Pitcher - Liberty