A game that Tech never wanted to play was an elimination game against Coastal Carolina, who had lost to Auburn and defeated FAMU. The winner would have to try to beat Auburn twice! Tech made that chance for themselves with a gritty comeback win, winning 10-8.
Senior Keyton Gibson was picked for the start for Tech, as away team again, versus junior RHP Scott Kobos. In the top of the first, Waddell and English singled but were stranded. It was Tristin’s eighth hit of the weekend, but not his last.
Trouble came quickly in the bottom of the 1st, with a walk, infield grounder deflected by a pulled in Webb into a double, and a two RBI single by slugger Biermann. It wasn’t over, and a double down the line, walk, and RBI single on an 0-2 count ended Keyton’s day, trailing 3-0 with the bases loaded and one out as Bartnicki came in. A sac fly to deep center field scored the fourth run before out three was made – Tech swiftly in a hole.
They started to dig out in the third with a single by Waddell, walk by Guldberg, and RBI single by McCann. English’s RBI sac fly made it 4-2, and Bartnicki worked around an error and walk in the bottom of the third. Sidearm throwing freshman RHP Alaska Abney came into pitch for Coastal. Tech tried some two out magic with singles by Waddell and Guldberg and a walk to McCann, but English was officially out for the first time this weekend on a well hit liner to the left fielder.
Weirdly, the umps left to ponder whether fan interference caused a balk after calling it on Bartnicki in the bottom of the 4th. They were gone for a while, but left Coach Hall very unhappy with the runner on second. Entirely predictably, the next two batters singled, with an error by Radcliff on the second one to make it 6-2. The next batter grounded off Webb to Waddell, who threw him out, moving the runner to third. Tech intentionally walked Biermann and brought in Hughes to pitch with runners on the corners.
He limited the damage to one more run on a sac fly, and CCU led 7-2 after the 4th. Radcliff singled and stole second in the 5th (reviewed and changed from an out call), and Webb and Nick Wilhite were hit by pitches, loading the bases for Waddell with two out. Luke hit a fly ball for the third out to left, leaving the deficit at five with Tech having left the bases loaded back-to-back innings.
It looked like it was happening again in the 6th, but Austin Wilhite drove in two with a two out clutch single after the CCU pitcher had loaded the bases on walks and a hit batsman. Tech trailed 7-4 and sophomore lefty Dylan Gentry came in to pitch.
After Gentry walked the first two in the 7th, Coastal’s pitching coach was ejected for not obeying the ump’s order to break up a mound visit; a thing I never saw before. After Guldberg loaded the bases with a single, Coastal brought in junior lefty Jay Causey to face McCann. Mac and English smoked back to back doubles to right and to left, clearing the bases by McCann and putting Tech up 8-7 by English (on a mission). Coastal brought in senior righty Matt Eardensohn. He got out of the inning, but not before Hall singled in English to make it 9-7.
Trouble came again in the bottom of the 7th, with a single, hit batsman, and grounder to Webb. He tried to tag the runner coming to third and throw to second, but somehow got neither, loading the bases. English moved over to pitch and Guldberg went from DH to first. English got a double play grounder that scored one, then struck out the next batter to keep the diminished lead of one run.
Tech had a bad break in their 9th. English singled, but Radcliff lined into a DP. But then, Colin Hall homered off the top of the wall in center field to make it 10-8.
English gave up a leadoff walk in the 9th, but the runner was quickly erased on a 6-4-3 DP, with the final out coming via strikeout. Tech lives to battle another game, facing Auburn at 6 PM. Hughes got the win, Causey the loss and English the save as Coastal was eliminated. If English isn’t the player of the regional, there isn’t one.