Bulldog Baseball Stuns #29 Coastal Carolina, 7-6 in 12 Innings

March 27, 2011
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Courtesy: UNC Asheville

ASHEVILLE, N.C. -  For the second time in as many days, catcher Nick Collazo drove in the winning run against #29 Coastal Carolina in walk-off fashion as the freshman hit a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the 12th inning to lift the Bulldogs over the Chanticleers 7-6 at Greenwood Field on Sunday afternoon.

With the victory Asheville improves to 8-14 overall with a 3-3 mark in the Big South Conference. Coastal falls to 15-10 on the year with a 1-2 record in league play. The also win gives the Bulldogs their first series victory over Coastal since the 2003 season.

Leadoff man Jordan Lurie went 4-for-5 at the plate for Asheville with No. 9 hitter Catlin Carter going 3-for-5 with three runs scored. Collazo entered the game as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the ninth and went 2-for-2 with two runs batted in. Rene Martinez earned the win in relief to improve to 1-0 on the season.

Coastal's Hayes Orton drove in two RBI, while teammate Tommy La Stella went 3-for-6 at the plate. Pitcher Aaron Burke was credited with the loss, giving up one run on three hits with two walks and two strikeouts in one and one-thirds innings, falling to 0-1 on the season in the process.

In the Asheville 12th,  CCU reliever Aaron Burke struck out the first two batters he faced and was close to striking out a third, when Carter singled to left to keep the inning alive on an 0-2 pitch.

After a Lurie walk, Andrew Kirkland had an infield single to load the bases for Collazo. The back-up catcher drove a 1-2 pitch into center-field scoring Carter to give Asheville the upset win.

"I'm really proud of our guys today," commented UNC Asheville coach Tom Smith. "That's a very good team (Coastal Carolina) we took a series from this weekend. Today we had plenty of chances not to get it done but instead we found a way to win, instead of coming close.

"A lot of guys stepped up and had big plays for us today," added Smith. "We need to build on this weekend and hopefully keep this momentum going."

 Collazo faced a similar situation on Saturday, drawing a walk with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth to up end CCU 3-2, snapping Coastal's 36-game conference winning streak.

The Chanticleers posted two runs in the top of the first inning before Asheville answered in the bottom of the second with a run off of a Lurie bunt single. The Bulldogs tied the game at 2-2 in the fourth on a Cody Buch solo home run to left field, but Coastal would answer in the sixth on an Orton run-scoring double to left to take a 3-2 advantage into the sixth.

Eli Miller drove in a run in the sixth on a ground out to short to tie the game at 3-3 but the Chanticleers were quick to answer once again, scoring a run in the eighth inning on an Orton single to right.

Down 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth, UNC Asheville came close to winning the game. The Bulldogs loaded the bases with one out. Grant Gajdosz singled to center-field to tie the game at 4-4. Pinch-runner Kirkland tried to score the winning run from second but was thrown out at the plate by Orton from center. Catcher Tucker Frawley did a great job blocking the plate and applying the tag.

In the top of the 11th inning, Coastal's Keith Hardwick broke the 4-4 tie with a solo homer to left. It was his first home run of the season Scott Woodward would double to center to drive in another run and the Chanticleers took a 6-4 lead heading to the bottom of the frame.

Incredibly, Asheville would rally again in the 11th to tie the game. With runners at second and third, Collazo singled to center to cut the lead to 6-5. Later in the inning, Gajdosz's ground-out plated Lurie

Collazo faced a similar situation on Saturday, drawing a walk with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth to up end CCU 3-2, snapping Coastal's 36-game conference winning streak.

The Bulldogs will hit the road for their next five contests beginning with a Tuesday game with North Carolina A&T scheduled for 3 p.m. in Greensboro, N.C. The following day the Blue & White will travel to Knoxville, Tenn., to take on the Tennessee Volunteers in a contest scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

The Chanticleers will next be in action on Tuesday evening when they will play an exhibition game the Texas Rangers of Major League Baseball. The game will be played at BB&T Coastal Field in Myrtle Beach, S.C.




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