OMAHA, NEB. – Coastal Carolina came up with three runs in the 8th inning to break a 2-2 tie and propel the Chanticleers to a 5-4 win and into a deciding game three of the College World Series against Arizona.
“That was a whole lot of emotion going on out there, and it’s hard to describe it, having not been in that position before in my life,” said Coastal Carolina coach Gary Gilmore, whose program is in the CWS for the first time. “Our guys kept breathing pretty good, and we got through it.”
Coastal got a big game from its closer who started a game for the first time this season. Mike Morrison, who struck out 10 and gave up just six hits, left the game in the seventh inning with the score tied at 2-2.
“I didn’t want to see my career end here tonight,” a jubilant Morrison said after the game. “I gave it everything I had.”
The Chanticleers’ bats finally woke up in the eighth inning, as they rapped out five hits after only having five in the game to that point.
In the eighth, leadoff hitter Anthony Marks slapped a single to center and advance to second on a sacrifice bunt.
Connor Owings blooped a single into left field to score Marks with the go-ahead run, making it 3-2. Owings was batting .125 (3 for 24) in the CWS before the Big South player of the year fought off a high, inside pitch for the big hit.
Zach Remillard doubled down the left field line to put men on second and third with just one out. G.K. Young singled both home to give the Chanticleers a 5-2 margin.
Arizona fought back with two runs in the bottom of the eighth but went down in order in the ninth as Coastal Carolina tied the series at one game a piece.
Arizona took a 1-0 lead in the first inning as it looked like it might be an uphill battle for the Chanticleers.
Arizona starter Kevin Ginkel was just as good as Morrison, striking out a career-high 10 in seven innings. He allowed two runs and five hits.
The Chanticleers took the lead in the third after shortstop Louis Boyd lost track of David Parrett’s popup in the outfield grass. Parrett ended up at second base on the Wildcats’ second error in seven CWS games and Billy Cooke stayed at third. Marks then singled up the middle for a 2-1 lead.
Ryan Aguilar’s RBI groundout tied it at 2-2 in the fifth for Arizona, setting up the eighth inning heroics.
“One thing we always talk about is the team that deserves to win usually will,” Wildcats coach Jay Johnson said. “In this case, it was Coastal. They were a little bit better with runners on base tonight and wiggled out of some jams. So we’ll dust off and get ready for tomorrow.”
The teams meet again Wednesday night at 8 p.m. on ESPN to decide the national championship.