Charleston, S.C. -- Stuart Haywood belted two homers, including a decisive two-run blast in the 10th inning, that propelled College of Charleston to a wild 12-11 win over Furman in semifinal action at the 2008 Southern Conference Championship before 1,443 at Joe Riley Park on Saturday.
With the win, the Cougars improved to 39-19 and will take on Elon in the tournament's championship game at 2 p.m. on Sunday. The Phoenix eliminated UNCG, 12-4, on Saturday. The game will be televised at 5 p.m. on SportsSouth. Furman ends the season with a 33-24 record.
The wildness began in the bottom of the eighth inning when Furman's Brian Harrison belted a solo homer to center to give the Paladins a 7-6 lead.
The Cougars answered with four runs in the ninth inning. Clay McCord's RBI single scored Haywood and tied the game at 7-7 with one out. Brandon Sizemore followed with a towering two-run homer to left, his 20th of the season, that gave Charleston a 9-7 lead. Jeremie Tice followed with his 25th homer of the season, a liner to right center, that gave Charleston a 10-7 lead.
Furman answered in the bottom of the ninth. Jay Jackson's sacrifice fly to center and Campbell Lewis two-out RBI single to center cut Charleston's lead to 10-9. Matt Hemingway scored on a passed ball to tie the game at 10-all. Following two walks, Furman's Marcus Rose lined out to right with the bases loaded to end the threat.
In the bottom of the 10th, the Paladins scored a run on Jackson's grounder to cut the margin to 12-11. With runners at first and second and one out, Charleston relief pitcher Mike Lynn got Harrison to bounce into a 6-4-3 double play to end the game.
An error, an RBI triple by Michael Harrington and Bergman's run-scoring single in the first gave Charleston a 3-0 lead. An error and RBI singles by Hemmingway, Jackson and Harrison gave the Paladins a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Reese Wade's RBI grounder and Hemingway's two-out RBI single stretched Furman's lead to 6-3 after two innings.
Haywood's first homer was a blast off the batter's eye in center in the top of the fifth that cut Furman's lead to 6-4. Charleston tied the game at 6-all in the sixth on Hentz's run-producing grounder and Haywood's two-out single to center that scored Hentz.
Lynn, who also picked up the win in Charleston's 12-8 win over Furman on Wednesday, improved to 3-0 allowing a run on two hits over the final 1 1/3 innings. Charleston righty Jordan Tiegs was outstanding in middle relief allowing two runs on six hits over 5 1/3 innings. Parry (5-5) suffered the loss surrendering three runs on five hits over 1 2/3 innings.
For the game, Haywood finished with four hits and a career-high tying four RBI. McCord, Sizemore and Bergman finished with two hits each as part of the Cougars' 15-hit attack. Hemingway paced the Paladins with four hits in five trips to the plate.
Post Game Quotes
College of Charleston's John Pawlowski
“The guys really battled through all of the adversity today and were able to pull it out in the end. There is so much intensity in the dugout through the tournament and it doesn’t matter how you did in the regular season. This is just such an emotional game that the guys just want to get out there and compete.”
“We will be ready to go tomorrow no matter who we face, but the guys will need this rest to calm their emotions as much as rest their bodies.”
Furman's Ron Smith
“We went toe-to-toe with a very good baseball team today and I can’t say enough about our guys’ efforts throughout the tournament. I feel like we ran out of pitching there at the end, but I am very proud of our guys performance.”
• CofC is averaging 2.22 homers per game, the 13th highest single-season total in NCAA history ... LSU set an NCAA record averaging 2.69 homers per game in 1997 ...
• CofC’s Jeremie Tice recorded his 82nd RBI of the season with his ninth inning home run. He now leads the country in RBIs ...
• Brandon Sizemore blasted his 20th home run in the ninth inning, making CofC the only team in SoCon history to have three 20-home run hitters in the same season (Michael Harrington, 26; Jeremie Tice, 25) ...
• CofC’s Stuart Haywood blasted two home runs, becoming the seventh player in this season’s Tournament to belt a multi-homer game.