Pinch hitter Andy Austin's bloop RBI single to right with two out in the 10th inning gave second-seeded UNCW a 4-3 victory over #1 College of Charleston in the winner's bracket game on Friday afternoon at the CAA Baseball Championship.
The Seahawks (38-16), who are the lone remaining unbeaten team in the tournament, advance to Saturday's 1 p.m. title game. The Cougars (42-12) will face the winner of tonight's game between Northeastern and Delaware in an elimination contest. If NU wins, the contest will be played at 8:30 tonight. If Delaware wins, the game will be played by at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday.
In a back-and-forth affair that featured numerous outstanding performances on both sides, UNCW capitalized on a Cougars' miscue in the 10th. Corey Dick drew a one-out walk and moved up to second on a wild pitch. With two out, a fielding error on Terence Connelly's grounder to third put runners on the corners. That set the stage for Austin, whose blooped a single into short right-center to score Dick.
Seahawks' senior closer Jordan Ramsey (8-2) retired CofC in order in the bottom of the 10th to earn the victory. Ramsey gave up one hit and an unearned run over the final 3.2 frames. Nathan Helvey (7-4) was the hard-luck loser after allowing an unearned run in 2.2 innings of work.
The late-inning drama overshadowed tremendous efforts from both starting pitchers. UNCW junior Evan Phillips surrendered only a pair of singles and two unearned runs over 6.1 innings of work while striking out eight. CofC senior Brandon Glazer limited the Seahawks to six hits and one earned run in 7.0 innings and fanned six.
UNCW broke up the scoreless pitcher's duel between Phillips and Glazer in the fifth. Designated hitter Luke Dunlap led off with a double into the corner in right and scored on a two-out double into the right-center gap by shortstop Kennard McDowell.
After cruising through the first six innings, Phillips' day came to an end after issuing back-to-back walks to Erven Roper and Tommy Richter with one out in the seventh. Ramsey looked like he would escape the jam, but a fielding error on a Ryan Brown grounder allowed Roper to score the tying run. Outfielder Alex Pastorius followed with a two-run single to right that put the Cougars ahead, 3-1.
UNCW battled back to tie the game in the top of the eighth. Zach Shields singled to left to open the frame and came around to score on after Gavin Stupienski doubled to right and the ball was mishandled. With two out, Dunlap singled to right-center and pinch runner Daniel Stack beat the throw to the plate to even the contest at 3-3.
McDowell paced UNCW offensively, going 3-for-5 with an RBI. Stupienski, Dick and Dunlap had two hits apiece. CofC had a season-low three hits in the game with Roper, Pastorius and Brown each getting one.