Charleston (College of Charleston) - Senior first baseman Corey Dick went 3-for-5 and drove in the game-winning run with a seven-inning double to lead second-seeded UNCW to a 7-6 victory over #1 College of Charleston in the title game of the 2015 CAA Baseball Championship Saturday afternoon at the Ballpark at Patriots Point.
It's the fourth CAA championship for the Seahawks (39-16) under coach Mark Scalf, and their first since 2012. UNCW earns the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, while the Cougars (43-13) are expected to receive an at-large berth when the 64-team field is announced on Monday afternoon.
UNCW finished with 14 hits as all nine starters recorded at least one. Along with Dick's impressive effort that resulted in him being named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, theSeahawks got a pair of hits from Casey Golden, Gavin Stupienski and Zack Canada.
Freshman Ryan Brown was the only CofC player with multiple hits, going 2-for-4 with a run scored. Carl Wise drove in a pair of runs for the Cougars.
Freshman Austin Magestro (5-2) picked up the win for UNCW in relief after allowing one run on one hit over 3.0 innings. Jared Gesell recorded his fifth save after giving up only one hit over the final 1.2 frames.
UNCW came out swinging early as outfielders Steven Linkous and Golden started the bottom of the first with back-to-back singles. Dick lined an RBI double to the gap in right-center and Luke Dunlap followed with a sacrifice fly to put the Seahawks ahead 2-0.
CofC cut the deficit in half in the second. Blake Butler drew a leadoff walk, stole second and scored on an RBI single to left by Erven Roper. In the top of the third, Brown doubled to left and a single by Alex Pastorius put runners on the corners. A Wise sacrifice fly plated Brown and Butler's single brought in Pastorius to give the Cougars a 3-2 advantage.
The Seahawks answered back in the bottom of the third. Stupienski was hit by a pitch, moved to second on a wild pitch, and scored when Canada smashed a double off the wall in left. UNCW moved on top 4-3 as Canada came in from third on a grounder to second.
The Cougars drew even in the top of fourth when sophomore first baseman Nick Pappas opened the frame with his ninth homer of the season over the wall in right.
UNCW regained the lead in the fifth. Terence Connelly drew a leadoff walk and Zach Shields reached on a bunt single. Kennard McDowell then faked a bunt and slapped the ball up the middle to bring in Connelly. A sacrifice fly by Linkous scored Shields for a 6-4 Seahawks' advantage.
Both teams picked up a run in the seventh. For the Cougars, Champ Rowland led off with a single, advanced to third following a walk and a sacrifice, and scored on Wise's ground out. The Seahawks pushed their margin back to two when Dick's two-out double to the left-center gap plated Linkous.
In the eighth, back-to-back Seahawks' fielding errors gave CofC runners on the corners with one out. The Cougars pulled within 7-6 when Bradley Jones scored on Devon Reed's fielder's choice, but Gesell came on to limit any other damage.
CofC threatened again in the ninth. Brown singled to right and moved into scoring position following a one-out wild pitch. But Gesell was able to induce a fly out and an infield pop-up to secure the title.