MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - College of Charleston's baseball team saw its season come to an end Monday afternoon in heart-breaking fashion as a controversial call at first base with bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth wiped out the game-winning run and Coastal Carolina scored in the top of the 10th to take a thrilling 11-10 victory at BB&T Coastal Field to advance into the Super Regionals for the second time in the last three seasons.
Junior Cody Wheeler, who started and threw a complete game shutout on Friday afternoon, came out of the bullpen to throw three innings with four strikeouts to earn the win for Coastal. The loss went to junior reliever Heath Hembree, who allowed only a run on a wild pitch in 2.2 innings worked.
Coastal CF Rico Noel had three hits and scored a pair of runs for the Chanticleers and Rich Witten had four RBI. Junior CF Cole Rakar had four hits, two home runs and six RBI to lead the Cougars' effort.
With the game in the balance and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, senior 2B Joey Bergman knocked a slow-rolling ground ball to short and appeared to beat the throw at first, but was called out to cancel out the game-winning run that came home to force extra innings.
CCU scored the game-winning run in the 10th inning when Witten was able to scamper home on a wild pitch. Witten began the inning with double to left, took third on a sacrifice bunt and scored the game-winner with two outs and Hembree on the mound.
Coastal started the scoring off with two runs in the opening inning. Noel, who was named MVP of the regional, tripled to right center with one out and came in to score on Tommy LaStella's ground out. Jose Iglesias then hit his 16th home run of the season to left center to give CCU a 2-0 lead.
Charleston tied the game in their half of the first on Rakar's seventh home run of the year that also drove in Bergman, who was hit by a pitch to start the game.
The Chanticleers wrestled the lead back with two runs in the third inning. Noel started the rally with a one-out single, stole second and moved to third on a fly out before Iglesias drove him in with a single through the right side. Iglesias came in to score himself on Taylor Motter's double to left.
The Cougars scored four runs to take the lead in bottom of the frame. Rakar doubled down the left field line to plate junior SS Jamie Holler and Bergman. A walk by redshirt-sophomore C Rob Kral and a single by sophomore 3B Matt Leeds loaded the bases. Rakar scampered home and untied the game on sophomore LF Jose Rodriguez's sacrifice fly. After a strike out, senior DH Justin Brewer pinch hit and delivered a run-scoring single through the right side to score Kral with CofC's fourth run of the inning and sixth of the game.
The lead changed hands again in the sixth on Witten's grand slam. Chance Gilmore and Motter started the rally with back-to-back walks to begin the inning. Daniel Bowman loaded the bases with a bunt single to the shortstop and Witten followed with his fourth home run of the season to give Coastal the two-run advantage at 8-6.
The Cougars knotted the game in the bottom of the seventh on back-to-back home runs from Rakar and Kral.
Coastal scored twice in the eighth to untie the game on LaStella's two-out double in the left center gap to score Adam Rice and Woodward. Rice began the frame by getting hit by a pitch and moved to second as Woodward reached on a fielding error from the Cougars and both runners scored on LaStella's double.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Cougars tied the game once again. Junior RF Baker Knox singled and Holler doubled to start the frame. An RBI groundout from Bergman scored the first run and a sacrifice fly by Rakar scored the second to tie the game at 10-all.
The Cougars end the season with a 44-19 overall record.
2010 Myrtle Beach Regional All-Tournament Team
C - Rob Kral - College of Charleston
IF - Taylor Motter - Coastal Carolina
IF - Joey Bergman - College of Charleston
IF - Scott Woodward - Coastal Carolina
IF - Matt Leeds - College of Charleston
OF - Cole Rakar - College of Charleston
OF - Jose Rodriguez - College of Charleston
OF - Rico Noel - Coastal Carolina
P - Tyler Johnson - Stony Brook
P- Cody Wheeler - Coastal Carolina
DH - Rich Witten - Coastal Carolina
MVP - Rico Noel - Coastal Carolina